The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

The MintChip experiment appears to be over and is being sold off

About 18 months ago I attended the introduction of Mintchip by the Royal Canadian Mint.

Royal Canadian Mint takes on digital cash

Mintchip is a project of the Royal Canadian Mint designed to provide an infrastructure for payments that would replace cash.

But now in a dramatic change of strategy, they are intending to divest Mintchip to the private sector.  This is disappointing.  In the article it is clear progress was being made, and alliances arranged with security and terminal vendors.  It is unclear what the future will hold for MintChip now.

It is especially disappointing because government involvement was one of the attractive aspects because it made the concept trustable and a suitable replacement for cash.  For me it set up a perfect real world comparison to Bitcoin and I discussed that here along several levels such as Government or not, P2P or not, unique ‘coins’ or not, new currency vs new transmission of existing currency.

I wonder (speculation here) if industry lobbyists got involved here, is it just to experimental for the Government, or did someone decide it is not the role of government to develop money transmission methods.

Too bad.

Written by Colin Henderson

April 7, 2014 at 12:29

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. It is too bad. There is a compelling case for saying the provisioning and control of national currency is a role that government has always had, and should extend to the digital realm. However my impressions were:

    1) Project was never seriously resourced.
    2) RCM was being opportunistic about attempting to extend its mandate, since the coin striking business was under threat. Not sure the government / Bank of Canada was ever on board.

    Rob Burbach

    April 16, 2014 at 09:26

    • re “Not sure the government / Bank of Canada was ever on board” I agree. It felt like a play by RCM.

      Colin Henderson

      April 17, 2014 at 00:31

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