Less than two weeks after the Conservative government announced the end of the penny, the Royal Canadian Mint is calling on software developers to help envision "the future of currency."

In a campaign launched online, the mint called on developers to create innovative digital payment applications using special technology only available to participants.

The goal is to create a system that allows businesses or individuals to make small financial transactions (less than $10) easily, quickly, and in an inexpensive way using smart phones, tablets, USB device, cloud technology or "or maybe even some other future device that doesn't even exist yet," according to a video explaining the challenge.

"Money as we know it is fine for today but tomorrow is a different story," the video says. "Imagine a whole new breed of transactions that are smaller, faster and virtually everywhere, that's where MintChip comes in."

While credit cards and email transfers are currently the standard method for making payments online, the Mint is seeking a system that would have lower fees and could therefore be used for transactions as small as a few cents or even a child's allowance.

"No personal data is required or exchanged whether you're buying a decaf latte, a Canadian history article for school or paying back that $10 you borrowed," the video states. "We are changing the future, you can too."

Developers are invited to begin designing applications using the prototype MintChip technology.

Winners will receive approximately $50,000 in gold bullion from the Mint.

"Prizes will be awarded for the apps that best demonstrate the potential value of the MintChip technology and have the greatest potential impact on digital payment technology," according to the MintChip website.

Participants have four months to share ideas and create their submissions before a panel of judges selects winners and the public votes on a popular choice winner.

Some of the best ideas will be revealed on Aug. 15, and winners will be announced on Sept. 24.

Follow Andy Johnson on Twitter @ajinto