MintChip — Mmn, Mmn, Good

In last month’s federal budget, Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced that the production of the lowly penny would be discontinued to save everyone the hassle of having to deal with something of negligible value.

Now, the Canadian Mint is proposing to develop a new form of digital currency called MintChip that would enable users, through a mobile device like a smart phone, USB stick or computer, to make small purchases both in person and on-line.

Here’s a link to a short news item in Maclean’s that also includes a link to a video the Mint’s produced on the subject. When you consider the cost of producing physical currency (which is itself an abstract expression of value), moving it around, protecting it from robbers and muggers, counting and recounting it at millions of tills across the country every day, etc., there’s a huge inherent cost to a cash economy. Switching to strictly digital transactions would reduce that cost significantly.

As Jesse Brown notes in his Maclean’s article, MintChip would open the door for a more viable form of e-commerce involving micro-payments each time a user accessed information on a website — be it a news article, a music video, a movie trailer, whatever. The payments might be measured in pennies, but with a potential global market numbering in the billions, it could add up.

Why, at three cents a pop, noted climate change skeptic Tom Harris alone would have kicked 24 cents into the prairie dog kitty in the last day based on the eight comments he made on one measly blog post.

It won’t happen overnight, but it seems inevitable that MintChip will happen.

Author: Gregory Beatty

Greg Beatty is a crime-fighting shapeshifter who hatched from a mutagenic egg many decades ago. He likes sunny days, puppies and antique shoes. His favourite colour is not visible to your puny human eyes. He refuses to write a bio for this website and if that means Whitworth writes one for him, so be it.

5 thoughts on “MintChip — Mmn, Mmn, Good”

  1. me. robot. human. me. tran. sact. with. mint. chip. (series of whizzing and whirring noises, movements like Mr. Roboto.) me. no. count. me. lost. way. in. teens. of. twen. ny. fir. cent. tu. ry. (more whizzing and whirring noises. robotic facial twitch) please. accept. usb. twen. ny. five. dollar. u. nit. o. cur. ren. cy. for. pur. chase. (robotic eyes roll to back of head. whizzing noises) my. mas. ter. plug. me. in. at. night. on. ly. let. me. out. to. buy. him. por. no. mags. and. ci. gar. rette. me. live. life. of. darkness. com. ma. sol. li. tud. help. dot. dot. dot.

  2. Um, of course every 3 cents you earn will require paying income tax of about 1 cent. Flaherty will be very happy.

    So why would I pay 3 cents for your blog when I can visit other blogs for free? Perhaps your blog will provide pictures of naked ladies which might help wrench those 3 cents out of my digital wallet. But perhaps the free blogs will also have naked pictures too. This will be war over a mere 3 cents, only 2 cents after tax.

  3. I think the idea is that all websites with any capacity to generate traffic would be able to charge micro-payments to consumers for the content they consume.

  4. And one step closer to the web just becoming little more than cable tv.

    Most of you don’t remember this, but when cable was fist introduced it was sold as a way to avoid commercials. You paid for cable and this displaced the commercials, it was commercial free. But after a few years they said they had to allow a small number of commercials to stay viable, this was the thin edge. Now we pay for cable and it is full of commercials.

    The smem thing willl happen with the web, once we start with a few pennies, then that will be the thin edge. Kiss it goodbye.

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