Imagine the Internet as Niagara Falls. Breathtaking, but not all that useful. Electronic commerce then becomes the generator, a way to harness what has become, to some, a wonder of the world.
Making the generator work has been difficult because consumers don't trust the Internet. In early 1997, Visa and MasterCard's Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) protocol brought forth a solution combining software, digital certificates and encryption as the answer to the call for more security. Central to the first U.S. SET transactions conducted in June was the May deal that joined MasterCard and Visa with software supplier CertCo and hardware vendor Spyrus to create a security infrastructure that enables SET.