Canada tests out its official digital currency

Canada tests out its official digital currency

Summary: The Royal Canadian Mint has closed entries for its MintChip contest, just over a week after inviting developers to come up with apps for the digital currency it wants to introduce."Due to a very high level of interest, we are no longer accepting registrations for the MintChip Challenge.

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The Royal Canadian Mint has closed entries for its MintChip contest, just over a week after inviting developers to come up with apps for the digital currency it wants to introduce.

"Due to a very high level of interest, we are no longer accepting registrations for the MintChip Challenge. If you registered already, we will contact you shortly," a post to the competition's web site said on Thursday.

Canada's mint is looking to launch its own digital alternative to coins and notes, and has come up with a technology called MintChip, which it describes as "an evolution of physical money". It envisages that ultimately, people will use it to carry out small transactions that, like cash, will be anonymous.

To test out the technology, which is still in the R&D phase, the Royal Canadian Mint launched a contest on 4 April for Canadian and US software developers to come up with mobile payment apps using MintChip. Winners in four categories each get gold worth about CAD $50,000 (£31,500) from the mint's vaults.

However, developers can no longer apply to take part after the contest hit its registration cap of 500 participants within days of opening. That pool of programmers now has until 1 August to submit MintChip-based apps that should help guide the technology's further development, according to the Royal Canadian Mint.

MintChip uses a secure chip and security protocol combination to protect transfers between two of those chips, and the token containing these can be stored on microSD cards, USB sticks or even in the cloud. Contestants will get two microSD MintChips, a USB adaptor, a micro SD-SD adaptor and access to two remote MintChip accounts in the cloud.

In addition, the apps should be able to run on Android or BlackBerry mobile OSes, or on Windows, or on a desktop or mobile browser. (The guidelines do not mention Apple's iOS.)

Topic: Tech Industry

Karen Friar

About Karen Friar

Karen Friar is news editor for ZDNet in the UK, based in London. She started out in film journalism in San Francisco, before making the switch to tech coverage at ZDNet.com. Next came a move to CNET News.com, where she looked after west coast coverage of business technology, and finally a return to her homeland with ZDNet UK.

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