Royal Canadian Mint takes on digital cash
Tonight I attended the award ceremony for Mintchip developers. It was held at the Drake Hotel on Queen West. A fitting location and as far from traditional payments as you can get down there in hipster city.
Mintchip is a project of the Royal Canadian Mint designed to provide an infrastructure for payments that would replace cash. The CEO, Ian Bennett of the Royal Canadian Mint attended and spoke. The RCM CFO is the project sponsor I learned tonight. This impressed me.
Bennett otherwise known as the “Master of the Mint” spoke about the Mint handling coins for 72 countries. He brought along a 100Kg gold loonie with a face value of $1 million but worth something like $ 6 million. This explained the armed guards.
This is an interesting project and the more so that it’s the Mint behind it. Intuitively it makes sense to have a government sponsor for something like this. They are in a position to provide the guarantee and security that we get from traditional cash.
I spoke with one of the leaders of the project, and he believes an eco-system will develop to provide the production capability for Dickson (see below) and the other winners to tap into. That eco-system will be driven by the value driven by the capabilities of the system. I hope he is right. There is some tough entrenched competition from the existing providers who are mainly banks or associated with banks. There is a space here to be filled.
Lets not forget the developers. Here are the winners and something about each on the Mintchip site.
I spent some time speaking with Dickson who won best micropayment category. He is ready to launch but there is no production capability yet. This I see as the large challenge.