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Canadian Mint To Create Digital Currency

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the no-coins-for-you dept.

Businesses 298

Oldcynic writes "The Canadian mint has allowed 500 developers to enter a contest to create a new digital currency. The currency would allow micro payments using electronic devices. From the article: 'Less than a week after the government announced the penny’s impending death, the Mint quietly unveiled its digital currency called MintChip. Still in the research and development phase, MintChip will ultimately let people pay each other directly using smartphones, USB sticks, computers, tablets and clouds. The digital currency will be anonymous and good for small transactions — just like cash, the Mint says. To make sure its technology meets the gold standard in a world where digital transactions are gaining steam, the Mint is holding a contest for software developers to create applications using the MintChip.'" It looks like the Canadian Mint might have a bit of Sweden envy.

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298 comments

A better name (5, Funny)

Megane (129182) | about 2 years ago | (#39652523)

They should call it the BitLoon.

Re:A better name (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | about 2 years ago | (#39652595)

I was thinking the 'Aboot-eh'.

Re:A better name (4, Insightful)

pnewhook (788591) | about 2 years ago | (#39653153)

ok, seriously. Where did the aboot thing come from cause no one here pronounces about like that.

Re:A better name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653215)

Maybe it's the newfies giving us this accent stigma.

Re:A better name (2)

belg4mit (152620) | about 2 years ago | (#39653335)

It seems to be a distortion of the actual distortion the word undergoes in many Canadian mouths, which is akin to "aboat" but not quit such a long-o.

Re:A better name (3, Interesting)

Kielistic (1273232) | about 2 years ago | (#39653637)

Some french-canadians pronounce it very "aboot" like. But I doubt you would hear it outside of highly francophone areas.

Re:A better name (1)

pnewhook (788591) | about 2 years ago | (#39653667)

Ok, thats the first explanation that has made any sense. Thanks! Americans confusing a french accent with 'geez that must be how Canadians speak english!'. lol

Re:A better name (3, Insightful)

MachDelta (704883) | about 2 years ago | (#39652605)

Loonie -> Toonie -> MintChip?

Clearly, the name should be "Moonie"

Then we can all sound like four-year-olds when we talk about "how much Moonies" a double-double costs.

Re:A better name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653321)

Gimme all your Loon-e-bits!

Canadian digital currency (1, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 2 years ago | (#39652531)

So it's like bitcoin eh?

Re:Canadian digital currency (5, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#39652579)

"And unlike BitCoin, a peer-to-peer hosted digital currency with a fluctuating value, MintChip is simply a new way to exchange Canadian dollars. Plus, itâ(TM)s backed by the Canadian government. "

Re:Canadian digital currency (4, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 2 years ago | (#39653367)

"And unlike BitCoin, a peer-to-peer hosted digital currency with a fluctuating value, MintChip is simply a new way to exchange Canadian dollars. Plus, itâ(TM)s backed by the Canadian government. "

Try imagining my original post spoken by Dave Thomas or Rick Moranis.

Re:Canadian digital currency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653733)

Wow, my humour center is oscillating between imagining Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters boring people to death at his party with that speech, or a ludicrous SCTV sketch. Man I gotta find those SCTV DVDs... well played.

Re:Canadian digital currency (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653307)

It actually works very much like Bitcoin, except for the way that transactions are verified. Bitcoin publishes all transactions publicly to ensure that money cannot be double-spent, while Mintchip relies on a tamper-proof client which is physically incapable of spending the same money twice.

Re:Canadian digital currency (4, Informative)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 2 years ago | (#39653489)

If I can get my hands on it, I can tamper it. Period.

Ok, not me, but rather, an expert on the subject.

Re:Canadian digital currency (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#39653705)

If I can get my hands on it, I can tamper it. Period.

Ok, not me, but rather, an expert on the subject.

Security is a matter of balancing the cost/benefit - if the attacker incurs a cost of $1000 to break one device used for micropayments (assumed to be used for petty change), I'd say it is safe enough.

As a user, I'd rather have concerns on the anonymity of the transactions, though.

My Ass (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 2 years ago | (#39652569)

"The digital currency will be anonymous..."

What a depressingly boring example of the One Big Lie technique. Don't they know they're supposed to blame a minority for something?

Re:My Ass (3, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 years ago | (#39652687)

Even more amusing would be digital currency tripping over a patent or two, only to discover a few years down the track, Canada locked into making patent payments for 10% or more of the electronic currency they are trading.

Re:My Ass (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#39652779)

I assume there are patents covering most of the modern anti counterfeiting techniques that are in use along with the counterfeit detection techniques...

Re:My Ass (1)

pnewhook (788591) | about 2 years ago | (#39653499)

Why would you assume that? Since governments print the money and different governments share techniques on how to make it counterfeit proof, it would just be a trade secret. There's no point in making a patent on it.

Re:My Ass (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653601)

Government holds the anti-patent trump card... Legislation. If it proves to be too onerus, they can ultimately win by simply passing a law exempting themselves from the auspices of the relevant patents. They'll casually point this out to any trolls that come calling, along with some drive-by hints that the legislation might be worded in such a way that said patents would be invalidated, and I suspect the trolls will slink-off into the dark preferring not to risk waking + angering the sleeping (Parliamentary) giant again...

-AC

Re:My Ass (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#39653343)

How would you even collect royalties on something like that? Every time a digital "coin" is produced, every transaction, or something else?

Re:My Ass (2)

GumphMaster (772693) | about 2 years ago | (#39653427)

In my personal experience of royalty claims... the claimant will want to be paid for any conceivable use of the "technology" even if it really has nothing to do with them. Create a unit, pay them. Transfer the unit, pay them. Bank the unit, pay them. Collect interest on the banked unit, pay them. Convert the unit into "real" money, pay them. Produce any sort of system that can be used to handle the units, pay them. Do the same thing on a mobile, pay them. ... or a social network etc. There's no common sense involved, it's a case of what they can get away with. Doubly so when they are a large concern, and the user of the "technology" is not.

Re:My Ass (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653603)

Canada doesn't have software/algorithm patents. Sorry.

Re:My Ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653071)

I think it's possible for them to anonymize it. You just sign up with an anonymity provider which lumps a whole bunch of transactions. All they would know is that something was routed through FooCan. As long as there is BarCan, BazCan, etc. you have a decent market. Then it all boils down to whether or not BarCan gets a subpoena. If that happens, it's understood that trust is out the window and it's not anonymous. Drug dealers just go back to using paper cash, gold, or whatever else it is they use to move large ammounts of money.

More like virtual country (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652611)

Keep that war on Eastern Canada going, Harper. It's been a real treat. Can't wait for the next 3+ years!

Since this complaint is fashionable... (1, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#39652629)

Um, excuse me, but this is a world site, not a Canada-centric site. Boy this place stinks, amirite?

Re:Since this complaint is fashionable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652667)

Yes, but submitter threw in the obligatory "Sweden is better than everybody" angle, so it's okay.

Re:Since this complaint is fashionable... (-1, Troll)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#39652801)

Funny how this exact same complaint is +5 Insightful when the story takes place in the USA!

Re:Since this complaint is fashionable... (1)

Formalin (1945560) | about 2 years ago | (#39653277)

It would be if .999 posts were canada based also.

Argh, that isn't even english.

Re:Since this complaint is fashionable... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652887)

As someone from the US, it is always good to hear stuff about Canada. Why? A tinge of envy:

Decent health care.

The fact that an illness won't swipe your nest egg.

The fact that you won't face life in prison for possessing a joint or peeing on a fence.

The fact that your kids won't wind up in jail (with a permanent criminal record) because they backtalked a teacher.

The fact that one doesn't have to carry a firearm in Canada everywhere one goes due to major swaths of the country belong to gangs or cartels.

The fact that Canada cities are clean and relatively crime-free. In the US, you either live in the suburbs or in a gated community in order for your kids not to be in the obituary.

The fact that Canada has an actual functioning school system that teaches more than to be docile consumers.

The fact that the food supply actually is monitored rather than depending on the word of the lowest bidding Chinese importers.

Re:Since this complaint is fashionable... (3, Insightful)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 2 years ago | (#39653651)

"The fact that you won't face life in prison for possessing a joint or peeing on a fence.

The fact that your kids won't wind up in jail (with a permanent criminal record) because they backtalked a teacher."

Don't worry , we're getting there...

Wiping out our savings (5, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39652641)

Digital currency just means the Central bank can wipe-out our savings more efficiently (by devaluing the dollar). You work and scrimp to save a million dollars for retirement. But by the time you're an old man, its purchasing power will be diminished to just 100,000 thanks to the actions of the rich bankers,

We're heading in the wrong direction. We should be looking for a STABLE currency that can not be devalued.

Re:Wiping out our savings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652719)

Yeah, it's the bankers and conservatives who are trying to devalue the currency by inflation. ... because they have tons of outstanding loans that will be easier for them to repay once currency has been inflated ridiculously.

Re:Wiping out our savings (4, Interesting)

green1 (322787) | about 2 years ago | (#39652723)

I think this is 2 completely unrelated problems. What this article is talking about is a way to exchange Canadian Dollars with people without physically carrying and handing them paper bills or metal coins. The currency itself isn't changing, just the method of transfering it.

As for devaluation. This is actually a touchy subject, in some ways currency needs to devalue, doing so stops people from sitting on vast piles of it and keeps them spending it which keeps the economy going, which generates jobs, and allows more people to spend money. Of course it also needs not to devaluate too quickly for the reason you list in that you have to be able to save for future big purchases, and be able to save money for retirement. Balancing the 2 is very tricky, but also completely unrelated to this particular initiative.

Re:Wiping out our savings (0)

knorthern knight (513660) | about 2 years ago | (#39653073)

> As for devaluation. This is actually a touchy subject, in some ways currency needs to
> devalue, doing so stops people from sitting on vast piles of it and keeps them spending it which
> keeps the economy going, which generates jobs, and allows more people to spend money.

The 1930's called. They want their "funny money" back. See http://turmelpress.com/socred1.htm [turmelpress.com]

Re:Wiping out our savings (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653133)

Currency does not need to be devalued, devaluation is theft. Hoarding is a false argument made by people who confuse money with wealth. Balancing the flow of wealth (ie: money) is indeed very tricky, so tricky in fact that it cannot be planned by a central authority using fanciful economic models but should rather be left to free markets. So fuck off "independent" central banks with your fractional reserve bullshit, the power to create money belongs only to the people.

Re:Wiping out our savings (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653445)

I would like every libertarian to conduct the following thought experiment:

What happens if one king owns all the gold?

I don't know what will happen when a libertarian conducts this experiment. I just know what happened when I conducted it. First, I realized that gold would have no use as currency in such a situation. All the other people in the kingdom would use silver. If the king owned all the silver, they would keep finding subsitutes in turn until they had something that circulated in reasonable ammounts among all the people.

Next, on the way from a functioning gold-based economy to the degenerate case of control at the hands of one man, there would be an intermediate state. Say perhaps, only the lords and ladies had gold. It would still not function as a currency among the peasants.

As the peasants were drained of their gold, they would gradually turn to other things. There might even be a bizarre state of affairs where gold became cheap relative to other goods because the writing was on the wall, and it was apparent that it would be a dysfunctional currency.

Now draw a parallel between this bizarre medieval kingdom and our moder society--one where US Dollars are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few. We see that the dollar is beginning to fail.

As much as we might like to assume that money is strictly the measure of a mans talent and willingness to work, we must also acknowledge that it is a public resource. Determining at what point we leave the "Newtonian" world of personal responsibility and enter the "relativistic" world of wealth imbalance is a job that has been left to politicians. Our current society is the result.

The thing is, gold is shiny... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 2 years ago | (#39653753)

So, basically you are saying government (aka "the King") can distort economies. Surprise, surprise!

That said, gold does have a tangible value, in that it represents X amount of labor to move Y tons of raw ore + Z amount of energy to refine it to a known amount of bullion, coin, ring, chain or what-have-you. In contrast to a printed banknote, of any denomination, that currently has only the tiniest of a fraction of worth compared to the "gold standard".

It may only be a coincidence, but the comparison of a month's labor to the value of an ounce of gold hasn't been far off for quite a while.

Personally, I convert most of my "excess" [$currency] into "assets" and "investments" (not "cash under the mattress" or even entries in some bank's computer).

All bets are off, if a solid gold meteor of any size is heading for us...

Re:Wiping out our savings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653481)

True, it should remain with the treasury, and the banks should be buying currency at interest from the government, not the government buying currency by selling bonds.

That wouldn't change the fact some level of devaluation is necessary to maintain liquidity in an economy. That would be accomplished without the transfer of wealth to private entities, and could (and has been) be done by a federal government. The Americans had something called colonial scrip that served this function. Unfortunately it wasn't well controlled and they devalued it into oblivion, but that can be avoided with appropriate regulation and legislation.

Re:Wiping out our savings (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#39652855)

only an idiot would build their retirement in cash dollars. this is why as soon as you've got more than a few thousand bucks in cash savings you should invest them.

One of the many purposes of investjment is to preserve the value of wealth in an inflationary environment, where the devaluation of currency over time is assumed, and hedged against.

Re:Wiping out our savings (4, Insightful)

Z34107 (925136) | about 2 years ago | (#39652951)

Digital currency just means the Central bank can wipe-out our savings more efficiently (by devaluing the dollar).

I hate to break it to you, but "digital" has jack shit to do with whether or not a central bank can devalue the currency.

Hint: It can.

Re:Wiping out our savings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653347)

Digital currency would have no effect on the ability of central banks to 'print' money. Central banks can already deposit money into accounts electronically and out of thin air. That doesn't mean basing our currency on rocks is a solution either though.

Re:Wiping out our savings (2)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#39653769)

Digital currency just means the Central bank can wipe-out our savings more efficiently (by devaluing the dollar).

Why do you think that the "digital" attribute is what enable them to do that? Like they aren't doing it already with printed banknotes or minted coins? You think it cost them much to add other 3 zeroes on a note?

Security Through Obscurity (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652647)

MintChip operates in either an online or an offline mode. The online most is basically the same as EMV cards used in europ. The offline mode relies entirely on a master secret key which is on every single mintchip.

Let me repeat that, the security of offline transactions is based entirely on a secret which is on every single mintchip.

Right, good luck with that.

Re:Security Through Obscurity (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#39652765)

That's what I was thinking. How do you have digital currency that is anonymous? Makes no sense to me. Either there is a verifiable record of the transaction on some 3rd party machine to ensure that money was actually transferred from one account to another, which means it's not anonymous, or it is anonymous, but depends on some hard-to-break DRM going on inside the card. The problem is that there's just too much to be gained from breaking the DRM. If you break the DRM you can basically print money. This is the same problem that's existed on all non-centrally managed payment cards. From photocopier cards to transit systems. People figure out how to break the DRM and charge up their card as much as they want. When it's photocopies and transit, there's isn't much lost or gained in breaking the system. But with something that's actually equivalent with cash, there's room for a lot of fraud.

Re:Security Through Obscurity (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653181)

In the digital cash context, anonymous or more properly, untracability, means the bank cannot correlate withdrawals with deposits. When you present a coin to the bank for deposit or exchange for an unspent coin, they know it is a good coin because it has a valid RSA signature, for instance, but they have no idea to whom they gave the coin originally. David Chaum patented a scheme based on RSA in the late 80's and his student Stefan Brands came up with another scheme (and there may be others.) Offline support usually works by exposing your identity to the bank if you try to spend a coin twice.

I have no idea if the Canadian Mint is using Chaumian or Brandsian digital cash but it is possible, try reading Schneier's "Applied Cryptography."

Re:Security Through Obscurity (1)

green1 (322787) | about 2 years ago | (#39652783)

My hope is that this is a misunderstanding or simplification generated by either a PR person or reporter and not in fact what the people designing this have done.

What I find more likely (assuming they are doing this even remotely right) is that it relies on some form of cryptography where each MintChip as it's own unique security key that is secret from other users. Not security through obscurity, but rather public/private key cryptography which would be the only safe way to do this properly.

Obscure, Proprietary, Patented (5, Informative)

Dwonis (52652) | about 2 years ago | (#39653683)

Let me repeat that, the security of offline transactions is based entirely on a secret which is on every single mintchip.

I don't think that's true. I had a look at some of their protocol documentation---which isn't all that detailed---and it looks like they're probably using PKCS#7 signatures and X.509 certificates.

Unfortunately, they aren't willing to publish enough information to actually analyze the security of the system to determine whether it's trustworthy [mintchipchallenge.com] (nothing about how the chip itself is secured, for example), but they have released enough information that we can figure out some limits on its security, and it doesn't look all that great. I'll probably get modded down for karma-whoring here, but here's what I posted on that forum, after looking at the limited documentation they provided on their website:

Let me get this straight: MintChip is a proprietary, patented, centralized, unpublished cryptosystem, where a trusted-third-party (the Mint) signs a certificate saying "this private key was stored in a tamper-resistant hardware token that is designed not to double-spend", so we're supposed to just be able to assume that any valid MintChip transaction signatures are trustworthy, even offline. As soon as one person extracts a private key from a MintChip token (which they will, given that there's a monetary incentive), the fundamental assumption that the whole system relies upon is destroyed.

Your organization appears to know this, which explains why you emphasize that MintChip is intended for "low value" transactions.

Fine, so the security of the whole system depends on the security of these hardware tokens, and yet you're "not in a position to release" any tangible information about them? Why should anyone invest in this system? Because you're The Mint?

You have the threat model wrong, too. Why on earth would you want to emulate cash? Cash is easy to counterfeit. It only remains useful because there's a high risk vs. payoff associated with uttering counterfeit cash. On the other hand, MintChip is supposed to be used online, so even if we detect a counterfeit, there's not much chance that the fraudster will actually go to jail. There's also a much larger number of potential fraudsters (basically, everyone connected to the Internet).

MintChip also doesn't deliver on its privacy claims. "No personal data is exchanged in the transaction." That's not true at all. According to your documentation, every MintChip has a *single*, 16-digit ID that's generated by the central authority and used in all transactions, so there's no reason why these IDs couldn't be tracked the way companies already track credit card numbers.

The funny thing is that this all could have been implemented on top of Bitcoin. Make some tamper-resistant hardware with some Bitcoin private keys inside it, and sign a certificate saying "the keys for these addresses are in tamper-proof hardware". For low-value transactions, they could be accepted at face value, but if we wanted greater certainty, we could inject the transaction into the Bitcoin network and wait for a few confirmations to avoid double-spend fraud.

Way back in 1999, Bruce Schneier posted a list of nine cryptography "snake oil" warning signs (http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-9902.html#snakeoil [schneier.com]). I see 3 of the 9 warning signs here already.

Re:Obscure, Proprietary, Patented (4, Informative)

Dwonis (52652) | about 2 years ago | (#39653699)

To clarify, I mean that there probably isn't a single secret that's on all the MintChips. There is probably one private key per MintChip, but you are correct that the security of the whole system appears to depend on all of these private keys remaining secret from their users. Good luck with that, indeed!

But can they do it right? (5, Interesting)

green1 (322787) | about 2 years ago | (#39652679)

I'm actually all for digital currency. But there are a few caveats, the obvious security ones apply, don't want people copying my digital money, don't want people stealing my digital money, don't want people creating money out of thin air. But in addition it needs to have a few other characteristics:
- Doesn't cost me anything to use. This is why I currently ignore Interac email transfers and still write people cheques, it's much cheaper for me. (even if it should be in the bank's best interest to push me the other direction, the cheque should be a lot more expensive for them to process!)
- Isn't tied to any one platform. Don't tell me I need an iPhone, or a Windows PC, or any other specific device, make it work on just about anything (obviously within reason)
- Anonymous. (listed in the summary, so it's a good start, but I can't emphasize enough that you will never get rid of physical currency as long as you make all your digital currency leave a trail)
- Hard to lose. I don't want to lose all my cash to a hard drive crash, or other similar event, so I need to either be able to back it up, or better yet not have to. (of course this is very difficult to accomplish while maintaining both anonymity and security, but there are a lot of bright minds out there, hopefully someone can come up with a good way to do it.)
- Ideally non-network dependent. A couple of years ago requiring an internet connection for the transaction would have been a deal breaker, but with the increased ubiquity of the internet on mobile devices this has lowered somewhat in priority. I still think though that you need to be able to pay someone without necesarily having network access at the time.

Re:But can they do it right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652939)

three of those are mutually exclusive, to a certain extent: Can't lose to a hard drive crash, not network dependent, and secure.

Re:But can they do it right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652959)

And preferably is administered by a company with a stellar accounting record...

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aKwwOGSy.k1g

Re:But can they do it right? (5, Funny)

dcbrianw (1154925) | about 2 years ago | (#39653161)

You forgot one caveat: strip clubs now have to affix digital card readers to their employee's legs. "Please hold still, miss." :-)

Re:But can they do it right? (0)

Twinbee (767046) | about 2 years ago | (#39653285)

Do we really need the anonymous clause? It seems it's in most honest people's interest for it all to be recorded, and it would seem to help security.

Re:But can they do it right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653315)

I wouldn't worry about that. There is no way in hell that the US will let Canada use anonymous digital cash.

Re:But can they do it right? (3, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 2 years ago | (#39653663)

I think we do. There's a lot of zealotry out there. I lot of vigorous disagreement over whether it's ok to be, say, gay or not. Get an abortion or not. Use one kind of drug or another. Be a member of one religion or another. I should be free to anonymously buy...whatever gay people buy...if I want. I should be able to go anonymously buy a nice bottle of scotch. I can now. If I want to drop a $20 in the collection plate, I can and no one's the wiser.

We should be able to focus less on proving we didn't do anything wrong and more on the idea that we don't HAVE to prove we didn't do anything wrong. The whole presumption of innocence thing, ya know?

Re:But can they do it right? (1)

pnewhook (788591) | about 2 years ago | (#39653583)

So its obvious for money but not obvious for other digital commodities like music? The 'I should be allowed to copy digital music' argument goes it is not stealing since I'm only making a copy of what you have and am not depriving you of any property. If I make a copy of your digital money is that not the same thing?

Too late. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652681)

The competition is apparently full. They limited it to 500 contestants. Apparently, there is hardware that gets sent out to each contestant.

The inflation is coming... (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#39652689)

The real news is that the Canadian government is intending to kill the penny. Or for those of you who have not read about the importance of the penny, this is the only way to control the spending of the central bank. It is actually quite simple, if the cost of creating a penny is 1.6 penny, then the central bank is "encouraged" to not to cut too many pennies, and thus to not to print too much money, and thus to not to lend the current loans to our future generation. Simple, ain't?

Re:The inflation is coming... (1)

thebigmacd (545973) | about 2 years ago | (#39652727)

My sarcasm detector is going off...

Central bank loans are virtual money anyway, so it doesn't matter.

Re:The inflation is coming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652749)

So your argument is that the only thing keeping the central bank from printing more money is the cost of minting the penny?

Definitely a "simple" argument and I don't mean simple as in easy.

so whats that thing I carry in my wallet? (4, Interesting)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#39652709)

you know that bit of plastic with my information encoded on the back, I swipe it into a miniature computer where that information wisks away to be validated and approved ... fucking smoke signals?

its just a pet peeve of mine ... digital

digital currency, fucking already have it
digital distribution, thank god, those fucking analog CD's and DVD's were so poor sounding when I copied them in my car
digital download, how the hell else is that going to work?

I dont know what shit for brains started replacing "internet" with "digital' but its fucking retarded

Re:so whats that thing I carry in my wallet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652917)

"internet" is last century. "digital" is shiny and new.

Glow in the Dark Dino Bones Coin More Interesting (4, Interesting)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 2 years ago | (#39652725)

The Canadian mint is releasing a quarter with a dinosaur on it where, when you turn off the light, a glow in the dark image of it's skeleton [cnet.com.au] shows up. I find this more interesting and relevant to my day to day life than digital currency I'm not likely to use in the near future... unless forced. Well that, and the fact they Canadian mint has just been ordered to stop producing the penny... Canada will penny free very soon. Anyway, I like the current system of Interac [wikipedia.org] and cash very much, thank you. With the Harper government busily trying to catch up to the U.S. in terms of snooping on its own citizens (not sure anyone could catch up to the British government... even the Chinese), the less I want to do with any form of Canadian government information network.

Re:Glow in the Dark Dino Bones Coin More Interesti (2)

hipp5 (1635263) | about 2 years ago | (#39653101)

I liked Interac a lot until I stopped being a student and no longer get unlimited transactions. $0.65 for every transaction after 8 in a month!? And it's going up to $1 in June! I've shopped around a bit too and can't find anything that works out better than that. So now I just use my CC for everything and make sure I pay it off before getting interest.

Re:Glow in the Dark Dino Bones Coin More Interesti (1)

pnewhook (788591) | about 2 years ago | (#39653597)

What the heck? I don't pay anything for interact transactions, nor should you. Its money right out of your account just like cash. There's no service being provided.

Re:Glow in the Dark Dino Bones Coin More Interesti (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 2 years ago | (#39653775)

Presdent's choice financial. It's basically CIBC without any fees and no minimum balances. Even have a selection of CIBC mutual funds with lower MERs

Cheap Louis Vuitton (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652733)

Louis Vuitton, il est l'un des plus remarquables de l'histoire fran?aise gourou de conception en cuir,Sac Louis Vuitton Pas Cher [louisvuitt...agssac.com] a ouvert la boutique première valise en leur nom propre à Paris en 1854. Un siècle plus tard, Louis Vuitton est devenu l'un des meilleurs marques de bagages et de maroquinerie domaine,Acheter Louis Vuitton Sac Pas Cher [louisvuitt...agssac.com] et est devenu un symbole de la haute société.
        Aujourd'hui, Louis Vuitton, la marque ne se limite pas à la conception et la vente d'articles de maroquinerie haut de gamme et des bagages, mais à s'impliquer dans le domaine de la mode, accessoires,Sac Louis Vuitton Pas Cher [louisvuittonenvente.com] chaussures, sacs, bijoux, montres, des médias, de vin et d'autres méga-tendances des indicateurs.Vutiton Monogram prix [louisvuittonenvente.com] Paris stade T de la position constante évolution supérieure de l'exposition Louis Vuitton de la mode, Louis Vuitton a été debout dans l'industrie de la mode internationale chaque année à partir du stade précoce de la valise Louis Vuitton pour l'instant, les rangs fiers de colonnes marques de luxe, dans son propre et unique ADN de la marque.

Canada as a test bed (2)

Snausagez (2615699) | about 2 years ago | (#39652797)

My wife's originally from Canada, and I lived there for a while. I noticed that Canada would try new things, including tech, and later you'd see it in the states. They're smaller and more nimble (1/10th the population) and North American companies could try new things there and see if they work. Also, maybe there's the benefit of: if the idea crashes and burns, it's not noticed in the states and the company doesn't need to worry about damaging their brand in the states.

Re:Canada as a test bed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652817)

Then again, we just barely got Visa/Mastercard-branded debit cards here in Canada.

Re:Canada as a test bed (1)

Snausagez (2615699) | about 2 years ago | (#39652873)

True. I noticed it happened in the reverse sometimes. I had a cable modem in a small city in Ontario long before most major US cities were offering the service. I seem to remember hearing some Australians friends talking about having fast Internet before us as well. Something about putting in huge amounts of fiber optic..

What advantage would this have over PayPal? (2)

BitterOak (537666) | about 2 years ago | (#39652857)

Love it or hate it, PayPal has become a de facto standard for Internet payments. What would this service offer that PayPal didn't?

Re:What advantage would this have over PayPal? (2)

hipp5 (1635263) | about 2 years ago | (#39653123)

I suspect:
- No fees
- None of PayPal's douchebaggedness.

Re:What advantage would this have over PayPal? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653129)

Oh, maybe they won't take money out of your bank account without your authorisation, like Paypal do? Just for starters...

Re:What advantage would this have over PayPal? (1)

pnewhook (788591) | about 2 years ago | (#39653609)

Well considering I know several people who have had their PayPal accounts hacked (I refuse to get one) I'd hope security would be a lot better.

micro-trans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39652863)

how are you going to have micro transactions if you get rid of pennies? a nickel charge for a candy bar, micro transaction is not.

Re:micro-trans? (1)

cmarkn (31706) | about 2 years ago | (#39653443)

Because even though pennies are going away, cents aren't. Transactions using credit cards, debit cards or whatever other non-cash methods you have, aren't rounded to the nearest nickel.

Software Developers? (1)

sykes1024 (1159247) | about 2 years ago | (#39652903)

They are going about this the wrong way. You don't want a bunch of software developers coming up with this stuff in competition. I'm sure there are plenty of very competent software developers out there, but what you want is a collaborative group of computer scientists with specializations in cyber security and encryption. This isn't exactly something you want to leave to the lowest bidder. If you want it to be a success, you need to know this system is going to be secure for a long time. How do they plan on judging the security of the contestant entries? With a crack team of security and encryption experts? Why not just have those people design the damn thing, it would take nearly just as long for how thorough they should need to be.

Gibbons (1)

smg5266 (2440940) | about 2 years ago | (#39652955)

I'm developing a computer program which rounds down the fractions of nickels left over from micro transactions and deposits the remainder into my bank account.

Re:Gibbons (1)

pnewhook (788591) | about 2 years ago | (#39653619)

There's been several movies where the main character did the same thing with the fractions of cents on interest calculations. That is not new.

Envy of Sweden? (3, Insightful)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about 2 years ago | (#39652989)

Was the summary written by an American by any chance? Canada embraced debit card transitions under the name "Interac" long before the US started experimenting with visa debit/check cards. I have a Interac bank card that I can use almost anywhere in Canada for making purchases which also works as a "visa debit" card in the US and as a visa that is tied to my checking account on some US online sites. We have been largely cashless for some time but I still like to have cash as a backup in case the interac network goes down which has happened quite a few times.

I remember one time going to the movies and I was one of a handful of people who actually had enough cash in the wallet to buy movie tickets and concession snacks while almost everyone else were up the creek without a paddle when the network went down in the entire city.

Interac (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653093)

Interac is going to be pissed.

I'm a little hesitant to like this (1)

dcbrianw (1154925) | about 2 years ago | (#39653109)

First, I will admit my first reaction to this is a sentimental one, but that doesn't make it irrelevant. A currency's appearance --the artwork people, places, and events depicted-- demonstrate the identity of a nation. Canada's $5 bill has hockey players on it. Another bill has the queen of England for historical and even current international relations reasons. We in the US have our dearest founding fathers on our monetary notes. (Side Note: I'd really like to have some bill introduced with Frederick Douglass on it.) I'm not opposed to the idea of digital currency. Heck, we pretty much have it with our banking system now. Second, I wonder if a 100% digital currency in the US would make it easier for the Fed to engage in quantitative easing. My first guess is that it would. And if keeping paper and coin notes in circulations at least slows down the Fed's ability to do so, I'm all for maintaining physical currency.

Re:I'm a little hesitant to like this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653409)

Bitcoin stops quantitative easing in it's tracks. In fact it pretty much makes boom and bust economics a thing of the past.
 
  No government is willing to give up it's control over currency however.
 
  The taxless aspect is another problem, but it's one which I'm sure will be resolved quickly enough.
 
  It's true that when the government can create money out of thin bits without actually printing it they have less people to contend with about producing the cash and distributing it to whomever they please. Government fiscal policy needs to be a matter of public record, much like government ethics, problem is no one wants to tie their hands and the influx of ethical geniuses from around the world isn't assured.
 
  The big thing here is that the government tried to attack VISA/MASTERCARDs high fee rates and gouging of retailers a little while ago. Businesses simply can't survive without those resources making them almost as important as government validation... then VISA and MC jacked up their rates astronomically and a whole government division had to be created to deal with their skulduggery... whether this proceeds or not the government is simply saying "if it becomes easier for us to provide credit cards than to monitor and arbitrate you doing it. We will." which the government should really say about every industry. The credit card industry is pretty stable, the only innovations being new ways to defraud and confuse the customers.
 
  + if you're Christian they're technically a sin, that sin being Usury. It's a lesser known sin because it was used to justify killing moneylenders and Jews during the crusades and then again in WWII. Basically it says "work to make money, don't lend to make money". It's also in the Talmud (Jewish law) which means that Jews trying to follow the law "invest" or "become partners" rather than lending money, which is a nice thought but this law is taken literally... there are dozens and dozens of books about following the letter of the law while still lending money.

Re:I'm a little hesitant to like this (1)

pnewhook (788591) | about 2 years ago | (#39653643)

Well if you like the current designs on he Canadian bills, wait for the new ones as we replace all our paper money with difficult to counterfeit polymer notes. New $100 and $50 are already out with more to follow.

stuuuuuuuupidddddddddd (-1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#39653507)

As soon as it's stores on a computer in 0's and 1's, I can steal it. The end. I'm not even a hacker, I repair computers. That's why bitcoin is fundamentally flawed. You don't need a getaway car and laundering to flip some 0's and 1's and change ownership of something or steal a digital decryption key that represents money. It's just stupid. If anything, they need better plastic-based holographic physical money.

Re:stuuuuuuuupidddddddddd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653611)

Mondex

The greed of banks, the stupidity of government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653569)

What a mess this is going to turn out to be.

I mean, already the spokesperson for the payment industry says it is "highly competitive" yet Canadians pay some of the highest ATM and banking fees in the world. Our government is so inept that the Canadian Mint itself lost millions of dollars of gold bullion just three short years ago. Or lost track of it. Or didn't. Nobody f*cking knows except those that have it.

Take a pass on this and save your money. Between Interact, Visa/etc., the banks, and the Canadian government the calculated odds of success are.....0%.

Digital Currency (1)

hackus (159037) | about 2 years ago | (#39653613)

translation....

How can we as the banking elite, make wealth creation at the push of a button on a computer for ourselves and our minions (any politician or judge)?

Without all of that Gold or Silver or value based paper that limits out ability to print money so we can fund unlimited wars to destroy and rape other countries using the USA military?

After all, we don't like currency that is backed by anything. We just want to make any we want, with no work involved at any amount we wish.

Plus, if all currency is digital we can centralize it and have a power orgy like the world has never seen! No man women or child can buy anything unless they play nice. (Do exactly what we say....with none of that indepedant thinking crap....or we just turn off their card!!!)

We could rule the world!

What a good idea.

Yeah, lets have a centralized digital system so a small handful of individuals can meet in private rooms and just decide everyday what to enter into a computer for the rest of us.

Wow,...what a _fabulous_ idea.

-Hack

Clouds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39653691)

"MintChip will ultimately let people pay each other directly using smartphones, USB sticks, computers, tablets and clouds."

That's a good one.
I no longer carry cash. I just go around with a cloud in my pocket.

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