The Royal Canadian Mint has suffered significant losses after its attempt to launch a digital currency project, MintChip, failed. According to reports, $11 million was not received in December 2019 as part of the sale of MintChip to private investors for $16 million, in addition to an estimated $29 million spent on research and development costs. The project launched in 2012 with much fanfare and lofty promises from Mint executives, but ultimately ended two years later by order of the Bank of Canada.
Financial Minister Bill Morneau issued a Letter of Expectations following the failed venture, which required any new projects from the Mint be approved by Cabinet prior to launching. Alex Reeves, spokesperson for the Mint refused comment on the matter citing commercially confidential information.
The news report has left many questions unanswered as to why such an ambitious project that cost millions was so quickly abandoned without explanation or resolution. Questions also remain as to why such a large sum went unrecovered despite efforts by the Mint and its hired consultants at Boston Consulting Group to find potential buyers for the program before it was sold off to Toronto-based start-up NanoPay.