The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Royal Canadian Mint introduces MintChip to handle < $10 transactions in Canada

I got all excited when I read about the Royal Canadian Mint and their MintChip initiative.  Cash Replacement it proclaimed.  I felt even better when I noted two people I have the privilege of knowing (Dave Birch and David Crow) on the judging committee. 

The Mint refers to this initiative as “the evolution of currency”.   What they actually mean is the evolution of change.  I was at first disappointed when I realised this was all about small payments.  It was no co-incidence the challenge was timed with the Canadian budget and the Mints elimination of the 1 cent coin.  The bigger picgture is that coins cost more to produce than their value.  When you associate that problem with the Canadian preference for electronic solutions, this initiative makes sense.  It is also a bite sized yet national initiative that has the government behind it.  This makes it less likely to become yet another fragmented and localised payment solution like Dexit.

I went to the Developers section which is hard to find, and finally got a much better description about the initiative and the implementation.  This from their site.

Digital Currency

  • No personal data is exchanged in the transaction
  • There is no intermediary or requirement for a proprietary network and as a result MintChip is a cost effective solution to merchants
  • MintChip is designed to facilitate the payment of low value (e.g. less than $10) payments
  • Anybody can participate regardless of their age or financial status
  • MintChip payments are instant and irrevocable
  • MintChips operate like cash in the physical world and virtual world and enables person-to-person payments
  • There is no requirement for an external authorisation
  • MintChip is backed by the Royal Canadian Mint

So I now have my mind around this solution as one that will eliminate the need to carry change and small bills.

In terms of acquiring locations they can use web addresses but more importantly QR codes.  This could finally put QR on the map.  Memo to marketers – putting a QR code on a poster in the subway where there is no internet service is not smart.  But I digress.

This whole initiative is well under the radar in Canada.  I learned about it on Techcrunch.  I say good luck to them and I want this one to work.  Tell your friends if you are in Canada,

Written by Colin Henderson

April 6, 2012 at 19:03

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. […] Royal Canadian Mint introduces MintChip to handle ( […]

  2. […] Royal Canadian Mint introduces MintChip to handle ( […]

  3. Not very useful if only sub-$10 transactions. MintChip Misses the Point of Digital Currency


    April 12, 2012 at 15:15

    • Jon .. thanks for the comment and link to your story. I certainly agree with your sentiment that MintChip could be so much more. I also know that while Canadians have an incredible propensity for all thinks electronic, the Canadian regulatory environment and banks do not. Its a very conservative environment. All this to say I will be happy if they can at least accomplish this, but I am not hopeful. I hope I am wrong.

      Colin Henderson

      April 12, 2012 at 23:36

  4. […] Royal Canadian Mint introduces MintChip to handle ( […]

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