Billing itself as “the evolution of currency,” The Royal Canadian Mint has come up with a new kind of digital currency called MintChip. The idea is that you would have this microchip, a MintChip, that you could load with cash or that’s connected to your bank account somehow. Anyway, from the chip you can transfer money to your computer to buy stuff online, to your mobile devices to buy stuff on the go, or even to other MintChips to, maybe pay your kid’s allowance.
You might be thinking, “Hey, Tech Report Daily Memo, why would I want to use this when I already have a debit card that does the same thing?” The Royal Canadian Mint is peering into the future, and as they see it, we will be making lots of tiny transactions – down to the penny. Think about the music buying experience now, where songs are $0.99. Now project that type of purchasing on all consumption – want to read a newspaper article? $0.03. Want to put air in your tires at the gas station? $0.02. All these tiny transactions aren’t worth the fees credit card companies charge retailers for using their services, and MintChip positions itself to get out of the fees by putting you in control.
The other big selling point is anonymity. MintChip promises none of your information will change hands when you’re making a purchase, so in that sense it’s just like handing somebody cash.
Of course all this is theoretical right now, but the Royal Canadian Mint is holding a contest for software developers to think up new ways to put MintChip to use. My idea for MintChip? Stuff it in a sugar cone and take a walk with it through the park.