Having gone over the materials for both the challenge and the concept I am deeply concerned that this project is aimed at platforms with either stagnant or negative growth or with little independant developer interest. No iOS support, No Mac support. No Ruby support. This would have been an interesting project a decade ago but the world has since moved on.
Canada's government IT elite are partying like it's 1999.
If you at least offered PHP support I'd upgrade you to 2005 but I can't because you don't.
Good luck with that catching on thing. My suggestion is to go back to the drawing board and rethink it with that goal in mind from the beginning. This is not a technical problem. The whole eCurrency thing is not a lack of technology or know-how. The REAL problem with eCurrency is having it "catch on". If MintChip fails to become widely accepted and used the rest is a waste of time. If it stalls, it will die. MintChip or anything of the like needs to take off and become massively successful in its first year or two.
The rest of what you said is just as out of touch as the thinking of those who cooked up this mess in the first place.
The iOS platform is limited to conducting transactions with cloud-hosted MintChip devices- hence the lack of a device API. As offline transactions rely on trusted crypto hardware embedded in the SD cards and USB sticks, the use of iOS devices for that purpose is limited.
In short, Apple devices lack holes into which to stick things.
You're still free to use the online APIs to write an app that communicates with cloud-hosted MintChips.