This month, The Royal Canadian Mint has issued a challenge to software developers to help create “innovative digital payment applications” using its MintChip technology. MintChip is a secure digital platform that allows both the storage and transfer of money on mobile devices, using security tokens that can be stored on USB and Micro SD cards, and even in the intangible cloud.
The proposed goals of the contest are to both utilize the MintChip technology to create new applications, and also prove the advantages of the platform over physical currency. Canadian and US citizens can register interest for free until the 18th of this month, after which they are recognized as official “solvers” and receive the MintChip software development kit, two microSD cards, and two virtual MintChip accounts. Due to an overwhelming number of applicants, registration for the competition has already been closed a week ahead of schedule.
Developers can create software that runs on all smartphone platforms, or simple browser applications. The development period runs until August of this year, when developers will have to turn in their finished software, along with a summary and demonstration video.
The judging process will take place in two parts – the first of which will involve a panel of judges who will select a second round based on the application’s quality, implementation, and potential. The second half brings the projects to the public on the contest’s website where visitors can vote each day between August 15th and September 12th.
Winning contestants will continue to hold title on their applications, and will be paid in actual gold. The amounts of gold range from 10 oz ($17,000) for the grand prize winner to 3 oz ($5,100) for individual categories like Best P2P Application and Popular Choice Award.
Digital currency has been a big business ever since PayPal and its former companies Confinity and X.com hit the scene around the turn of the millennium. Even companies like Google have recently become involved in creating digital mobile payment platforms on smartphones. It’ll be interesting to see the kind of innovative programs that emerge from the Canadian contest, and if the digital currency technology will prove successful enough to permeate borders.