How close are we to being able to conveniently pay for things by waving our hand in front of a scanner? Dutch entrepreneur Martijn Wismeijer, the founder of Mr. Bitcoin, is already capable of doing it, having implanted two NFC chips into his hand that are capable of holding the private keys for cryptocurrency wallets. Talk about security! However, this is not possible for all of us, as well as learning how to find less popular cryptocurrencies can be a disaster for any average crypto enthusiast.
The chips are a tiny 2mm by 12mm glass xNTi device that can be implanted with a syringe. You can actually buy these chips online, but they come with a warning that a body piercing or body modification specialist should implant this and it isn’t regulated by any government agency.
This particular chip can only hold 888 bytes, but there are larger versions coming down the pike and this brand of the chip can be used for just about anything that requires NFC capability. Wismeijer has used it to turn off his alarm in the morning besides testing it for Bitcoin payments.
Implants like this one could well become the norm, despite complaints from superstitious types, once the technology improves to the point where shopping does not involve standing in line to pay for your things anymore. A ramped-up version of Mister Wismeijer’s implants could be used to cut down on shoplifting. Instead of setting an alarm when someone walks through the door with merchandise without going through the checkout line first, the scanner at the front door would just spit out a receipt because it scanned both the merchandise and the appropriate implant.
“I wanted to try it out before the blood dried up,” he told Telegraph, but leaving it alone until the wound heals is recommended for implants of this type. He believes that implants and bio-hacking technology like these chips will have several practical and potentially life-saving uses in the future:
Imagine a normally invisible tattoo on your arm glowing red when you get a heart attack, swipe your phone, and your phone will notify the doctor. By supporting these bio-hacking initiatives I believe we are paving the way for social acceptance while at the same time we support the bio-hacking technology that drives it.
I see this as more proof that implant technology could take a different form than you might have seen in science fiction. Already, engineers are testing implants to send simple “telepathic” messages to one another. Many transhumanists believe that cybernetic implants can be developed to the point where they can correct the degenerative effects of injury and illness. They promise that the lame can walk and the blind can see with the right kinds of implants.
If we are careful, we won’t turn into the Borg despite my own recent kidding that I’ll be happy if the worst that happens is somebody hacking into my implant and installing Angry Birds as a joke. However, it’s neat that people like Martijn Wismeijer are already getting some practical use out of existing implant technology. One of these days, I might be able to turn off my alarm by waving my hand at it and pay for things by holding it close to a scanner, too.