The LESE FAQ

by J. Orlin Grabbe

What is LESE?

LESE is the Laissez Faire Electronic Stock Exchange. It is an electronic auction and trading market for gold, foreign currencies, and various offshore stocks and warrants. LESE is managed by DMT (the Digital Monetary Trust), and is completely integrated with the ALTA anonymous-payment system. (To create an ALTA account, go to http://ssl.alta.lfcity.com.)

How does LESE relate to other Digital Monetary Trust products?

Digital Monetary Trust is committed to developing a privacy infrastructure which will allow individuals and entities to operate in the freedom of cyberspace outside the confines of the traditional nation-state.

To achieve sovereignty, individuals need private and secure communication, private and secure financial transactions, and a trading and capital-raising mechanism to finance their endeavors.

In this context, LESE is a mechanism for both trading monetary assets and raising capital. This includes an IPO auction mechanism for the sale of new shares, as well as a secondary market for creating public prices for shares and warrants.

Who can participate in the LESE market?

Only customers with ALTA or DMT-browser accounts can participate in the LESE market.

For the moment, all trades are based on assets originating from ALTA accounts. Each ALTA user can "LESE-enable" any of his ALTA asset accounts for trading on LESE. (Holders of DMT-browser accounts can also participate, as DMT-browser accounts can make payments to, and receive payments from, ALTA accounts, and vice-versa.)

How do I access LESE?

There is a LESE activation page on the user's (your) ALTA account page.

You click on the name of one of your ALTA accounts, and then click the button at the bottom of the account summary screen to LESE-enable it. The first time you do this you will be asked to choose a LESE password. (Your LESE username is automatically the same as your ALTA username.) You should LESE-enable all those ALTA accounts that you want to make available to yourself while trading on LESE. These will typically include a dollar account, and a separate currency, commodity, or security account for each of the individual securities you wish to trade.

After this initial setup, you are ready to log in to LESE at http://ssl.lese.lfcity.com. The LESE system will prompt you for your LESE username and password.

The list of your LESE-enabled ALTA accounts will then be displayed, each with initial balance 0. All transfers of assets into LESE from your ALTA accounts (and back again) are managed seamlessly from this LESE interface, maintaining the anonymous and secure environment that characterizes all user interactions in DMT systems. The LESE trader does not have to again log in separately to the ALTA system.

How do I trade in LESE?

On the LESE user interface, the user (you) can see the balance of each of your ALTA accounts, and a list of all your current offers/bids. A different part of the screen shows market information, most notably the order books (ladders of bids and offers) of the available markets.

When you decide to place a sell or buy order (an offer or a bid), a pop-up "wizard" will assist in gathering all the information needed, such as asset type, price and volume. The LESE system handles market orders as well as limit orders. Market orders are indicated by setting the limit price to zero.

For a buy (bid) limit order, the amount needed to cover the trade, including the DMT fee (see fee list here), will be temporarily removed from your USD account and put in escrow for the duration of the trading session.

The account balance will be updated automatically by the system for each trade, even for partial fills.

For market orders, the total balance of your USD account is put into escrow, but only for the duration of one execution of the auction engine; i.e. in the order of milliseconds.

Once you commit an offer/bid, the information is sent to the real-time auction engine that will attempt to fill each order as soon as it arrives. You will therefore be informed instantly if the suggested trade was executed or not, as well as the price and volume that was "hit". You do not have to "refresh" the screen separately to get this information about the instantaneous "hits".

Your most recent activities are displayed on the user interface. Any orders/bids that were not immediately filled will be shown on this part of the interface as soon as they are filled by the auction engine.

Can I cancel trades?

Since LESE is a real-time system, limit-order offers/bids are transacted immediately. This means that a committed trade that is "in the money" (meaning, in this case, a limit bid equal to or above the market offer, or a limit offer equal to or below the market bid) really can't be canceled, since it is executed within a fraction of a second after having been placed.

For offers/bids that are not "in the money" the user has the option of canceling. This operation has a specific button on the user interface.

What is a "one-shot" bid or offer?

The LESE back-end offers the possibility of placing "one-shot" offers/bids that will only be handled once by the auction engines.

Any part of the order that can be immediately executed will be. Any remaining volume of one-shot trades will be automatically canceled if they are not immediately filled. That is, an order to buy 10 at 50 or less, when the market allows the purchase of up to 7 at 50 or less, will result in a purchase of 7 with the remainder of the order canceled. (The user interface has to mark such orders/bids as "BT" or "ST").

How do I exit LESE?

You can log out of the LESE system at any time by clicking the logout button at the top of the page. All limit bids and offers not canceled will remain active in the market and the auction engines will perform trades on them. All assets that you have put into the LESE system will also remain until they are explicitly transferred back to your corresponding ALTA accounts.

Any amounts or assets transferred out of the LESE system will automatically be available to be claimed by you into the corresponding ALTA account(s) the next time you log in to the ALTA system.

Can you tell me something about the "nuts and bolts" of LESE?

LESE consists of several parts, from "top to bottom":

  • A user interface for controlling transfers of assets between LESE and ALTA.

  • A user interface for creating and controlling transactions (offers/bids) on LESE.

  • A user interface for viewing "global" information, such as the order book and the historical trends for each traded asset. This interface is currently implemented as a HTML-based interface.

  • A web server running the user interface that communicates with the LESE XML-RPC server.

  • The LESE XML-RPC server that handles user authentication, portfolios and control of trades. This server also interacts with the background system that performs secure and anonymous transfers of assets between the user's ALTA account and the corresponding "shadow" accounts in LESE.

  • The LESE auction engines that performs the trades, one engine per asset type. These engines are fully real-time and can handle hundreds of anonymous trades per second, if needed.

  • The LESE statistics gatherers that prepare digests of trades based on the output of the auction engines.

  • The LESE statistics server that offers "global" information in a suitable format to the XML-RPC front-end or separately to authenticated users (using their own applications or Java applets).

  • The LESE server interface to the ALTA system, used for secure and anonymous transfers of assets between the systems, without the need for operator intervention.

  • Several administration tools, especially the one for creating new users in the system, but also for reports and statistics.

  • [This is version 1.1 of the LESE FAQ. If there are additional questions you would like to see the next version address, send your comments, questions, and (if appropriate) suggested answers to LESE-faq@orlingrabbe.net.]


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    December 18, 2001