MintChip, the digital cash platform started by the Royal Canadian Mint and acquired earlier this year by Toronto financial technology startup nanoPay, will be available to consumers starting today.
All Canadians are now able to download and use the MintChip app to send and receive digital cash between family and friends for free.
The digital cash is also being accepted by select merchants in Toronto's Liberty Village neighbourhood until Labour Day.
Created by Royal Canadian Mint
MintChip was founded in 2012 by the Royal Canadian Mint as a secure way to send and spend money.
Like cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, it is an encrypted system that processes payments instantaneously, therefore removing the need for a third party to process or settle the transaction.
This results in lower fees for merchants.
Unlike bitcoin, however — whose value tends to fluctuate wildly because it is not tied to any underlying economy — MintChip uses digital cash that is linked to a country's currency.
Consumers can use a credit card to load money into the app just like if they were making a regular purchase, and they can withdraw money from the app by having it deposited into a bank account.
Laurence Cooke, founder and chief executive of nanoPay, says MintChip provides Canadians with a glimpse at what a cashless society could look like.
"With the launch of MintChip in Canada, we demonstrate that it is feasible to replace physical cash with digital cash, while showing the viability of the platform to banks, merchants and developers worldwide," Cooke said in a statement.