Canada was the first country that started a government-sponsored digital currency project, but now it seems they will leave it in the hands of private investors. Most of the virtual-currency drive has come from the private sector, mainly in the US. The Royal Canadian Mint has stopped the development of the MintChip digital currency and is looking for buyers to sell the business to.
Can this be called a failure for the program? As it didn’t actually reach its circulation phase it can’t be said it’s a total flop. Several milestones were reached, as the Mint reached an agreement with SecureKey Technologies Inc. a month ago to make transactions between MintChip users more secure. But Christine Aquino, the Mint spokeswoman described this as a sure sign that the virtual currency had “matured” and that moving it on to the private sector was one of MintChip’s “natural next steps.”
Regardless, it’s hard not to compare the Canadian government’s project — coming with the heavy engagement that entails serious sanctions and $50,000 in rewards for developers — to bitcoin, which is has been far more pervasive and valuable having its software developed in an open-source environment that was entirely run by volunteers.