10 years ago

e-Payments and Java: The Royal Canadian Mint Experience

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 The Royal Canadian Mint. MintChip was created using Java Card technology.

The Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) is the only legal provider for circulating money in Canada.  In a show of innovativeness, the RCM introduced the MintChip.

While there are already a lot of electronic payment and digital currency systems out in the market, the MintChip is different in that the RCM wants it to replace physical currency.  In the future, you will no longer see Canadian dollar bills or coins.

Java and the MintChip

The MintChip was created using Java Card technology.  This is the same technology that was used for smartcards and other devices with small memory footprints.  In fact, over 12 billion Java Card devices have already been shipped all over the world.

How does it work?

The MintChip is actually a microSD, UICC, USB memory card or an SD card that has integrated circuitry (for security purposes).  It also has the MintChip application, along with the Java Card platform, which contains the Java Virtual Machine.

Everything is written on Java! In the future, it’s fully possible that MintChip could also be used in the cloud.

The Java Card chips used in the MintChip is designed to be very secure.  In fact, these chips have been used in government and military IDs. The MintChip is also low-power, have very small memory footprints and can record transactions even when power is turned off in the middle of the transaction.

In the future, Canadians will be using MintChip to pay for their fares or for other small purchases.  All they have to do is load it up using their linked accounts or via mobile phones or ATM machines.

Why Java Card?

RCM decided to use Java Card technology because it is used in just about everything, especially in mobile devices.  In fact, if you own a smart card, it probably runs on Java Card technology.

They know that Java has a lively community of users and developers.  In fact, RCM has already made APIs available to developers who want to incorporate MintChip functionality into their own apps.

Java Card allows developers to write applications using Java and these applications could be run on cards, even if these cards come from different vendors.  Java Card also provides unparalleled portability, in that you could port your app from a smartcard to a smartphone easily.

On top of this, Java Card is very secure, providing users with more security options than what is commonly available in other platforms.

Lastly, Java Card also trumped other platforms when it comes to performance, proving that it was faster than its competition.

Already on a Roll

The good news is that MintChip is already out there.  RCM hosted MintChip Challenge, where they invited developers to compete with each other in order to come up with apps that use the MintChip system.

Starting with 500 software developers, they received 57 qualified applications.  The winning application was called MintWallet, which is a cloud-hosted program that allowed people to send and receive digital cash.

Are you looking to use Java Card technology for your products?  Call Four Cornerstone today and get started with Java Card the right way!

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