The Royal Canadian Mint has pulled the plug on its MintChip cloud-based digital currency and is looking to offload the business.
Is this a classic solution to a problem that never existed, which got little interest from the retail and customer community and withered on the vine?
IMHO, the problem was with the concept: MintChip envisages both locally-stored and cloud-stored "digital cash".
To implement the former, one needs ubiquitious consumer-side devices with "chip" - introducing "chip" just for the sake of "digital cash", especially without any tangible retail infrastructure, is an uphill battle (unless one aligns the interests with another
major industry that relies on "chips" - e.g. mass transit...)
Moreover, EMV specs have included chip-based "digital cash" since 2004 (called "pre-authorised debit") - there were even two pilots launched, but the concept
never took off, because back then it was hard to implement cloud-connected "chips" for instant remote value top-up (a must for any successful "stored value" solution).
For cloud-based "digital cash", one doesn't need any complex infrastructure. In fact, such transit schemes as Oyster - or any of the cloud-based wallets - is nothing else, from that perspective, but "digital cash".
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© Finextra Research 2014