Martijn Wismeijer, the founder of Mr Bitcoin, a company that installs and operates cryptocurrency cash machines in and around Amsterdam and across Europe, has decided to keep digital currency on wireless computer chips implanted under his skin. He has recently encountered the painful procedure of having two NFC (near-field communication) chips embedded in his hands.
A wide range of devices can read the chips, including smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Apple iPhone 6, and they can be adapted for a range of uses. Wismeijer has already experimented with storing Bitcoin and similar digital currencies on the chip.
He noted it is vital to encrypt them to prevent theft, especially if it is common knowledge that one has a chip and tells people where it can be found. Wismeijer has used the chip to store the private keys for his Bitcoin wallet temporarily but he says that it is not yet secure enough to use permanently.
The company Mr Bitcoin can help one have chips implanted under skin. The pain from the injection lasts around a day and then one can start using it.
“Don’t be like me: I wanted to try it out even before the blood dried up but it is like a new mobile phone that needs to be fully charged before you switch it on the first time. Really you should leave it alone until it is no longer swollen and healed or you might risk infection and then your body might reject the implant,” said Wismeijer.
The glass chips that he has implanted are xNTi devices that come pre-installed in syringes to plunge them into the fatty flesh under the skin. The 2mm by 12mm chips store only 888 bytes, but can transfer that over short distances in the presence of an NFC reader. New models with more memory are currently being designed, but they will be larger and more painful to install since they will have to be unfolded under the skin as opposed to just being injected.
“Most doctors will not want to install the implant so a body manipulation artist (preferably not just tattoo artist or piercer) will be your next best bet, but make sure they work according to strict hygiene codes and know what they are doing,” said Martijn Wismeijer.
Wismeijer plans to have an NFC-enabled lock fitted to his house, which means that he can get rid of his keys and unlock the door using his embedded chip.
Besides, he has used the embedded chips to program an alarm clock to switch it off only when he places one or both of them against a sensor, which forces him to wake up on time.
“The reason I did take the implants is that I have real-world uses for it today, my phones and tablets are all compatible. I personally feel that by supporting these bio-hacking developments we can learn what works and what doesn’t and that some day, in the not so distant future we will be able to implant more functionality like sub dermal glucose sensors or heart rate monitors and other vital health monitoring devices. Imagine a normally invisible tattoo on your arm glowing red when you get a heart attack, swipe your phone and your phone will notify 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.” said Wismeijer.