Wallets are becoming more integrated with other things. Soon, we might all use our phones as a way to pay for things. However, the ultimate way to ensure that you don’t forget your wallet at home is to embed it into your skin.
That’s exactly what Patric Lanhed is doing, having placed a tiny computer chip under his skin that holds the key to his Bitcoin wallet, enabling him to scan his hand in order to pay for purchases.
The method is called a Bitcoin “bio-payment” because it allows for the sending and receiving of funds using data stored inside the user’s body.
Of course, this “bio-payment” isn’t really that different from other ways of using NFC to pay for goods and services. Many phones have NFC chips built into them, enabling users to use Apple Pay, Android Pay and other mobile payment services to use in stores. The main advantage to this, however, is that, while you certainly might lose your phone, it is very unlikely that you’ll lose your hand.
“We are here to try to expand the frontiers of bio-functionality,” said Juanjo Tara, Patric Lanhed’s collaborator, in an interview with Motherboard. “We started with Bitcoins as a tribute of the revolution on the Internet, and we believe in hav[ing] the ownership of our data.”
Eventually, the team hopes that people will be able to store more than just their Bitcoin wallet keys on the chip. Soon, we might be able to connect our credit cards with chips implanted under the skin, paying for goods in store using the chip.
It’s important to note that Martijn Wismeijer, the founder of a Dutch Bitcoin ATM company, implanted NFC chips into his hands last year. It’s not clear, however, if he used the implants to actually make payments or not. Lanhed and Tara are the first to claim that they’ve actually made a payment.
Eventually, the code behind the chip will become open-course so that others can start making NFC chips that can be stored under the skin.