No Money, No Problems: Canada Considers Completely Digital Currency

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While Americans pull crumpled paper bills out of their pockets to pay for their Mega Millions tickets, Canadians are busy ditching all of their old currency. The Canadian government introduced plastic bills in November, recently announced it was doing away with pennies and now is looking to go digital.

The Royal Canadian Mint has announced it will release a completely digital currency called MintChip. Aside from sounding delicious, MintChip will be stored on physical chips and will be able to hand both big purchases and nano-transactions – purchases less than $1.

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If this all sounds a lot like BitCoin — the favorite currency of techies and libertarians alike — that’s because it is, according to the National Post:

The system has no centralized database. “They’re calling it anonymous … their intention is that it’s no more associated with who you are than [traditional] currency,” said Jacqueline Chilton with Glenbrook Partners, a California-based payment consultant.

If you drop your plastic chip, the money on that chip is gone, just as if you’d dropped a $5 bill. Then there’s the issue of hacking.

Bitcoin Magazine writer Vitalik Buterin told the National Post that other “unhackable chips” had been compromised using electron microscopes, needles and acid. Still, the Canadian government seems bent on winning the Canadian public over.

On April 5, Royal Canadian Mint announced a contest to entice software developers to create apps for the new currency. The prize is $50,000 in the most old-school currency on Earth — solid gold. Who says government bureaucrats don’t have a sense of humor?

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