Canada has been making some interesting changes to its currency from ditching its penny to pushing pretty, plastic pesos. The latest may become one of the coolest forms of cash on the continent.

The Royal Canadian Mint announced the development of “MintChip,” a possible alternative to traditional, tangible money that’s totally digital.

The new currency basically works as an electronic transfer of virtual funds from portable devices such as smartphones, tablets and even USB drives or laptop and desktop computers over the Internet. The new currency works through a secure microchip that transfers small amounts of money for smaller purchases and transactions, such as books, songs and news articles. It also doesn’t transfer personal information through these transfers and purchases to reduce the risk of identity theft.

So far, it’s only in the development stages and far from bringing us into the high-tech age that we’ve only seen in science-fiction movies and ‘Jetsons’ reruns. In fact, the project is holding a contest to find a software developer who can create an equally impressive application to manage MintChip’s monies. The winner gets $50,000 in gold. All 500 available candidate spots for the contest have already been filled.

[Gawker]