An overview of eCurrency Mint

eCurrency Mint (not to be confused with MintChip) is a new startup backed by an eBay founder that is aiming to create what looks like a Crypto 2.0 network augmented with anonymous transactions. It looks to be aiming to create a digital cash system - allowing central banks to issue tokens that anyone can anonymously transact in, just like with physical cash. Lets have a look and see if the idea is feasible.


Based on an article from Payments Source, the Mint appears to:

  • Allow central banks to issue digital currencies
  • The issued currency is untraceable ("eCurrency Mint [...] doesn’t let a central authority track the ownership and usage of the digital money"), although "individual countries could implement the technology differently"
  • The currency would take a form of "cryptocomplexes", which would either be similar to Bitcoin transactions, or be their own atomic tokens (the text is unclear) ("[I]nstead of printing a billion one-dollar bills, [a central bank] would issue digital objects called cryptocomplexes that it would inject into the financial system much as it does cash today")
  • "[E]ach [cryptocomplex] keeps track of itself. Through a unique identifier, each unit is forever associated with the original block from which it came. The central bank would know immediately if the total of all the pieces added up to more or less than a billion. But it wouldn’t know where each piece is, or who owns it."
  • "There’s no general ledger like bitcoin's blockchain for eCurrency."


Based on those features, it looks like we are dealing with a ledger-less currency similar to either Open Transactions or what MintChip was supposed to be.

The biggest design challenge of what was described is the anonymous aspect of the currency. While the details of what the author meant by "cryptocomplexes" remains unknown and more details would be needed for a proper analysis of the technology, what is being presented is not beyond the realms of possibility. We can look at Dash's DarkSendBitShare's TITAN, Confidential Transactions proposed by Greg Maxwell as examples of how this can be achieved, at least in a ledger-based network. For a setup like Open Transactions, you would probably use some scheme based on blind signatures for the notaries.

While what is presented is technologically possible, the scheme could be found illegal under various rulings, such as the 2013 FinCEN guidelines on Virtual Currencies. While it would be feasible to perform full KYC on when the currency enters or exists the system (at least until there is even a need for such transfers before money becomes completely digital), losing the ability to track, freeze, seize and audit the financial records of various people might be seen as helping money laundering and criminal activities.


The information presented about the eCurrency Mint paint a technologically plausible picture of a new anonymous, ledgerless Crypto 2.0 system similar to some of the features described by MintChip. It would be interesting to see more technical explanation of the proposed system, as well as an overview of how such a system could fit into the existing regulatory framework.

Due to the heavy emphasis on anonymous transactions, I doubt the eCurrency Mint will ever be considered for adoption by any government or central bank in its current form.

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1 comment:

  1. It would be interesting to see comparisons to Monetas, an OT-derived platform, and the potential offerings of Chain and the like. "cryptocomplexes" sound complicated!