Canada trying to digitize currency, announces MintChip competition

Mint chocolate chip is one of my favorite ice cream flavors, but that’s not what the Royal Canadian Mint was thinking about when it announced a new system known as MintChip. Instead they were thinking more along the lines of a futuristic form of payment, maybe something akin to what you would find in the Star Wars universe known simply as credit chips. The Canadian Royal Mint is in the process of phasing out the penny in Canada, and decided they want to take it a step further, and start looking at how to phase out all paper currency and coins.

As you can imagine a competition like this garnered a lot of interest. Could you imagine if you were a part of the team of developers that created the system that helped the world get rid of paper currency? The competition is in Canada, but I’m sure this is one of those cases where the world is watching for what comes out of it. In the video I posted above you can see that they are very forward thinking in the approach to MintChip, talking about it being functional on a device not yet invented.

While we have a ton of ways of actually checking, paying, and receiving money online, having a truly digital form of payment is the logical next step. Yes we have things like NFC and you see a new use for that kind of technology all the time. It started with paying at gas pumps with a key chain and now you can start your car just by getting in with the key in your pocket, but we’ve never seen anything that can truly take over for paper money, or the almighty debit card.

The Royal Canadian Mint is no longer accepting registrations due to the overwhelming response. One reason it might have gotten so much attention is the prizes it is giving away. First place gets 10 oz of gold, which equates to $17,000 in today’s market. Second, third and fourth prizes are 6 oz’s, 3 oz’s, and 1 oz of gold respectively. There are also prizes for things like Best App and Popular Choice which says to me that they are looking at all avenues for how this technology can be used. Public voting and judging begins August 15. Check out mintchipchallenge.com for more information. What do you think about using your tablet to handle all your cash?

[Tom’s Guide]

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Bryan Faulkner

Bryan Faulkner is a former associate editor at Pocketables. He loves to find new ways to use his tablets while working as the Tech Director at his local church. Mixing sound from the iPad is his newest obsession. He currently has a pair of HP TouchPads, an iPad 2, a decommissioned HTC EVO 4G, and a Samsung Galaxy Note II to tinker with.