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Fair Electronic Exchange is defined so that both parties to an electronic transaction get what they need, or neither gets anything. One party gets the message only if the other party gets a receipt for the message. This is crucial to electronic commerce, but not easy, even with digital signatures.
Protocols relying on trusted third parties guarantee fair exchanges, but are inefficient (a trusted third party must be involved in each transaction) and expensive (the trusted third party must be paid for each transaction).