The Royal Canadian Mint is halting development of its MintChip digital currency project, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
MintChip is a protocol for transferring digital value which the Mint says could be denominated in a number of recognized national currencies in the future. The Mint, which casts coins for the Canadian federal government, based MintChip on a prepaid model and was testing the payment method in two of its cafeterias.
The project was attracting more attention with the rise in popularity of decentralized cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. In January, the Mint demoed an Ingenico point of sale terminal that accepted MintChip payments.
The Mint plans to sell the MintChip business into the private sector which Christine Aquino, a Mint spokeswomen, says was the project's "natural next steps," according to the Journal. A spokesperson from MintChip did not return PaymentsSource's request for comment by deadline.
Many people are split on whether government-run digital currencies that take traits from cryptocurrencies but are tied to national currencies would be an advantageous idea. The crypto-community's libertarian-leaning enthusiasts say centralization leads to corruption and the systems would restrict consumer choices. Others say governments using decentralized protocols to digitize their paper and/or coin currency could be the future.