A history lesson as Canada tries to digitize coins
Bill Maurer, anthropology professor, Institute for Money, Technology & Financial Inclusion director, and social sciences associate dean for graduate studies and research, is quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek April 15, 2012
From Bloomberg Businessweek:
Coins may have been around since before the Caesars, but Canada is trying to make them extinct. The Royal Canadian Mint wants to create the "MintChip," a digital way to replace coins for small transactions like buying a cup of coffee. Canada has already planned to phase out the penny and just launched a competition to attract developers to build technologies for the system. It wants a complete overhaul of how people make payments. MintChip may be technologically savvy, but it's no easy task to replace coinage. "MintChip is supposed to replace coins, and it's worth remembering that the coin is one of the oldest pieces of technology that you have in your pocket," says Bill Maurer, the director of the University of California, Irvine's Institute for Money, Technology & Financial Inclusion. "The coin is super-duper old and we still have them." Historically, new payment technologies just augment existing methods and don't supplant them altogether, Maurer says. "Plastic was going to get rid of cash and coins, and it hasn't yet."
For the full story, please visit http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-04-15/a-history-lesson-as-cana....