Next time you visit Canada, you might use digital currency to purchase your poutine, using something called MintChip backed by the Canadian government. The Royal Canadian Mint announced it’s getting rid of the penny and starting a new e-currency instead, and it wants the software community to help develop it.
The government just launched the MintChip Challenge— which was apparently so popular it’s already fully registered — to seek new digital payment apps for this new virtual currency. The idea is sort of a hybrid, combining the convenience of electronic transactions and the anonymity of cash. It will work via SD cards, but it will have no personal information or bank account data associated with it (so they say). It’s sort of like BitCoin but with actual, government-backed value.
The four-month contest includes 500 developers who will build apps that can demonstrate MintChip’s value. They’ll have to work on a variety of smartphone and desktop browsers. The prize: Solid gold wafers and coins worth about $50,000.
Its anonymity is a pretty unique idea. Other electronic payment systems — PayPal, Square, NFC-enabled phones, etc. — all connect to a person’s credit card or bank account. But cash is a great equalizer; you don’t need to have good credit to use it. MintChip would enable the same type of low-cost transactions for which you’d normally use cash. A Canadian banking group called Interac estimates that small-value transactions under $20 are worth $90 billion to the Canadian economy, the Toronto Star reported.
MintChip still has some kinks to be ironed out, including privacy, security of the currency and other questions. But it’s certainly an interesting concept.
Wyoming state representatives have taken a cold hard look at the state of America and it seems they do not like what they see.
Jeremy Pelzer at The Casper Star-Tribune reports that legislators approved Friday, a study looking at what the state of Wyoming should do if the U.S. suffers a total political and economic collapse.
House Bill 85 would create a state-run “government continuity task force,” to prepare Wyoming for possible disruptions in energy and food, to a total breakdown of the federal government.
Rep. David Miller sponsored the bill and while he says he doesn’t see any cataclysmic crisis coming anytime soon, to ignore the country’s problems would be a mistake.
With the national debt at more than $15 trillion and the protests springing up around the country Miller isn’t feeling confident in the U.S.’s future.
He wants Wyoming to look into its own alternate Read more…
Two weeks ago we presented a chart that shows the uncanny correlation between the debt ceiling and the price of gold. Now that we know the final amount of the next debt ceiling hike, somewhere in the $2.5 trillion ballpark, it allows us to extrapolate where gold will end up as a result of the debt ceiling hike which will likely be voted into law at 7pm PDT. A simple correlation rule of thumb allows us to predict that gold will be at $1,950 by the end of the year if it simply retains it close correlation to the debt ceiling. Should Bernanke announce that he will additionally need to monetize some or all of this incremental debt amount, we anticipate that gold will be well over $2,000 by the end of the year, courtesy of yet another round of accelerated dollar debasement, which also means that real gains in US stocks will be negated courtesy of the devaluation of the currency in which they are priced. The same, however, does not apply for gold, which with every passing day is priced in nothing but itself.
The Bloomberg chart of the day first presented on July 20.
In mainstream financial circles, the concept of a global currency is often spoken of only with an atmosphere of caution. It is approached always in hypothetical terms. It is whispered of as some far off dream; a socio-economic moon landing in the far reaches of fiscal space. Perhaps in 2015, or 2020, or maybe 2050, but certainly never just over the horizon, or right around the corner posing as an innocuous trade asset created over 40 years ago and used only on rare occasions. Unfortunately, the development of a centralized global security representing the creation of a supranational economic body is much closer than many would care to admit…
The most common argument made in the mainstream against a global currency taking shape is the Read more…
Investors have pushed silver above the recent channel high at around $39 or so per ounce and I fully expect a retest of $50 if any more talk is given about QE3 — Silver rises because of the rising digital money supply, not from speculation. Owning cash is speculative whereas owning metals is conservative or a safe haven at current prices.
Many people will tell you that silver and gold are in a bubble but the fact is that commodities in general are one of the only asset classes that work here because the consolidated banking system is holding our economy hostage and Bernanke is solely focused on saving the banks. Right now, shorting European banks and going long silver and gold looks to be about as good of a “trade” as possible — investors are essentially betting that Europe will face massive credit problems because of the obvious insolvency of Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland.
The next shoe to drop is the US… We are facing the exact same issues as Read more…
The markets have not yet thought about it, but the biggest threat to the Euro is not Greece, Ireland or Portugal, but the dangers posed by the fourth largest economy in Europe, which is also the third largest in the Eurozone, that of Italy. Italy is passing austerity measures but the measures may not be enough. The problem that the Euro faces is that there is little central control over the EU economy, control that exists affects states within Europe that have not adopted the Euro, as well as those that have.
Eleven years ago when the merits of the Euro were debated I argued against it. I was not fondly wishing to hold on to the pound sterling for sentimental reasons. I felt that there was a Read more…
China is running a major risk in holding so many dollars because the US may deliberately devalue its currency, a senior Chinese official has warned.
The comments by Guan Tao, head of the international payments department in the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, knocked the dollar on Tuesday, adding to fears about the struggling US economy. The dollar fell to a one-month low against a basket of six leading currencies.
Pressure on the dollar has intensified amid heightened concerns that the soft patch in the US economy will ensure that the Federal Reserve sticks to its ultra-loose monetary policy in the near future.
Despite Mr Guan’s concerns, which are often voiced in Beijing, analysts said that China had little choice but to recycle its vast foreign currency reserves into dollar-denominated assets. “The United States has adopted expansionary fiscal and monetary policy to stimulate economic growth,” Mr Guan said in an article that was published on the website of China Finance 40 Forum, a Beijing economic think tank.
“The United States may find it hard to Read more…
While the policy helped insulate China from the financial crisis in 2008, the world’s second-biggest economy has missed its chance to allow the yuan to appreciate to tame inflation, Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC, said yesterday at a conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.
“It would be very advantageous to allow the currency to appreciate as a way of controlling inflation,” Soros said. “The authorities missed that opportunity. You now have inflation somewhat out of control, and causing some serious danger of wage-price inflation.”
The yuan gained 4.6 percent against the U.S. dollar in the past two years, the second-smallest gain of 10 Asian currencies tracked by Bloomberg, even as economic growth rebounded and foreign-exchange reserves jumped to a record. Inflation accelerated to Read more…