This has nothing to do with ancestors, but it strikes me as setting an historical precedent. Our descendants may look back at this as a major change in history: Canada is the first government to officially release digital currency. I wouldn't be surprised to see all governments do the same within a few years.
The Royal Canadian Mint, the government-owned corporation that produces Canada's coinage, is set to launch MintChip, a digital form of currency that enables value transactions in the cloud. MintChip will not exist as coins or paper. Instead, MintChip only exists as information securely stored on flash drives, MicroSD cards, USB sticks, or remotely in the cloud, all for use by smartphones running Windows, iOS, Android, Blackberry, or by desktop and mobile browsers once the apps are created.
According to MintChip's website at http://developer.MintChipchallenge.com/index.php, "Instant, private and secure, MintChip value can be stored and moved quickly and easily over email, software applications, or by physically tapping devices together."
A MintChip will work a bit like a credit card ID, except with much more security. Payment can be made with MintChip for online purchases as well as for in-person transactions, assuming appropriate hardware is available. In this case, "appropriate hardware" would be similar to a credit card swipe machine, except that it would read data from your smartphone, not from a credit card.
A similar effort, called Bitcoin, was started a couple of years ago but has not gained much popularity. It is a private effort with no governments involved. Bitcoins have also had security breaches. The new Canadian MintChip will be backed by the Canadian government and also presumably has still better security. MintChips certainly will be much safer than carrying cash.
I can envision MintChip being used instead of cash or credit cards for payment when accessing genealogy records online. Many companies would like to offer "pay-per-view" of census records and other, similar records by selling the information for low prices. One record might cost ten cents or twenty-five cents. The problem today is that the credit card companies all have minimum charges that make micro-transactions impractical. Credit cards are not practical for merchants for transactions of less than a dollar or two. The video on the MintChip web site promises that micro-transactions of ten cents or so will now be practical for the first time.
Will MintChip revolutionize our financial transactions? I don't know, but I certainly think this is a topic worth watching.
You can read more about the Royal Canadian Mint's new MintChips at http://developer.MintChipchallenge.com/. You might also want to watch the video that is available on the same page: http://developer.MintChipchallenge.com/.
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