Tom Simonite

A View from Tom Simonite

Canada to Mint Its Own Crypto-Currency

  • April 5, 2012

The Royal Canadian Mint has invented a new, digital currency called MintChip intended to be an alternative to using debit and credit cards.

MintChip is modeled somewhat on Bitcoin, a digital currency invented by an unknown programmer that looked like it might succeed last year before falling prey to a serious of security and regulatory problems. The promo video for MintChip promises that transactions as small as $0.01 will be possible, something not feasible with credit cards due to the fees on each transaction. A competition is underway that will reward programmers with the best demonstration uses for MintChip.

MintChips are exchanged as digital files that can be verified by software mathematically, without the need to verify your identity or to check in with a third party, as it with a credit card. That’s something it has in common with Bitcoin, but enthusiasts for that currency won’t like the way that MintChips are originally created and issued by a central authority, which is not necessary for Bitcoin.

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.
Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium

$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.

  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus ad-free web experience, select discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

You've read of free articles this month.