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Royal Canadian Mint unveils MintChip virtual currency; launches development competition

05 April 2012  |  14188 views  |  0 US Coin Cash

The Royal Canadian Mint has unveiled a 'digital currency' called MintChip, inviting developers to build applications using the new form of cash.

Having revealed plans to ditch the Canadian penny last week, the Mint is continuing its assault on physical cash with MintChip, which it describes as the "evolution" of currency.

The system brings all the benefits of cash into the digital age, claims a dedicated Web site, providing users with instant, private and secure access to their money.

Canadians will use a 'chip' to load value onto a device such as a smartphone, PC, tablet, or store it in the cloud, and can then buy physical goods in the real world or digital content online.

The currency is not yet in the wild; instead, the Mint is inviting software developers to create applications that use it. It's providing participants with an SDK, two microSD MintChips, and two remote MintChip accounts they can use to integrate the technology with their apps. The dedicated Web site has a developer guide and APIs for building apps to run on Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows or desktop and mobile browsers.

Developers have until August to enter their apps which will then be judged by a panel including Royal Mint president Ian Bennett and Google VP of payments Osama Bedier before going to a public vote.

A total of eight winners will be declared in September, splitting a pot of C$50,000 in gold, with the developer of the best overall app getting C$17,000 worth.

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