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Would you use digital currency?

Categories: Business, Canada, Science & Technology

In a screen grab, the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled its MintChip technology, a digital currency that will allow users to load monetary value onto a secure chip and transfer it to a digital device. (CBC)

Billed as the "evolution of currency," the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled MintChip, a digital currency that allows users to load monetary value onto a secure chip and transfer it to a digital device.

"Recently, the Mint has dedicated part of its research and development funds to improving the efficiency of currency," said the Mint.

"This research has led to the development of MintChip, the evolution of currency that could become the digital equivalent of the coins we use every day."

The MintChip technology isn't available to consumers yet -- it's only in the research and development phase, with five patents pending.

Value can be stored and transferred over email, software applications, by tapping digital devices together or remotely in a cloud. The MintChip digital currency will work on the internet, at a store, on mobile devices and allow person-to-person transactions, like cash.

Users can register an account in the cloud, download an application onto a mobile device or obtain a MintChip device. No personal data is exchanged in a transaction.

The Mint said the secure chip targets a burgeoning market for micro (under $10) and nano transactions (under $1) for purchases like a song on iTunes or a newspaper article.

"The Mint hopes that software developers and entrepreneurs will use MintChip to ignite trade and commerce for these very-low-value markets."

The Mint is inviting software developers to create digital payment applications using the MintChip technology.

Only participating software developers have access to the MintChip technology. Up to 500 participants will receive a software development kit, two microSD MintChips and two remote MintChip accounts to integrate with their development.

Some developers have already registered to develop an application.

Developers have until July to submit their concept, and submissions will be judged by public voting and a panel of judges, including Google and eBay executives and CBC's senior business correspondent, Amanda Lang.

The grand-prize winning application will receive about $17,000 in gold from the Mint. The winners will be announced mid-September.

Would you use virtual currency? Why or why not? Do you make low-value transactions on the internet? Why or why not? What do you buy? Let us know in the comments section below.

This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.

Tags: internet, Royals

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