Are NFC Implants the Next-Gen Wallets?

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by Nick Galov · 4 min read
Are NFC Implants the Next-Gen Wallets?
Photo: Unsplash

There already exist quite a few people that have an RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) chips implanted in their bodies. The uses for such technology are many, but could it work well as a virtual wallet?

It’s fascinating to look back on earlier works of science fiction and see what kinds of outlandish predictions they made for the future, from flying cars to robot servants. It’s even more fascinating to look back on this art and see which predictions actually came true, such as Star Trek’s proto cell phones.

One of the latest sci-fi conjectures to begin its fruition into reality is the cyborg – a seamless blend of man and machine. As outlandish as it may sound, steps have already been taken to create the first of what is called a transhuman.

There already exist quite a few people that have an RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) chips implanted in their bodies. These allow them to communicate with electronic devices to open doors, unlock machines, and the like. These chips are mainly NFC (Near-Field Communication), meaning that they only work in a short range, typically within a few feet.

The uses for such technology are many, but the prospect of it working as a virtual wallet is particularly interesting. Could this concept work well, and how feasible is it with our current state of tech?

There are already precedents of individuals using chips for this purpose. Martijn Wismeijer (a.k.a. Mr. Bitcoin) had two NFC chips implanted in his hands in 2014, which serve as storage for his crypto cash. The chips worked just fine, making the operation a success, and now more and more people are modifying their bodies in the same vein, so to speak.

You shouldn’t bring out the champagne just yet, though. As it stands, the tech is far from perfect.

For one, the storage space leaves quite a lot to be desired. Martijn’s chips have 888 bytes of memory – enough to hold some digital keys. Furthermore, spending cash this way is, by nature, quite intangible, and may make it hard for people to keep track of their spendings. Not to mention the fact that these devices have to be charged some way.

While these issues stop implanted wallets from being widely accepted, it’s important to remember that technological advancements happen all the time. Better chips and associated pieces of tech will more than likely come along within a decade or two. Thus, these problems may be moot at some point ahead.

Additionally, the long term benefits do outshine these. For one, data as sensitive as your crypto keys is much safer if it’s where you can’t misplace or lose it. Beyond that, the convenience of having your financial assets at the tip of your fingertips (maybe literally) is hard to deny.

Ethical Uncertainty About Implanted Chips

Many people are, understandably, somewhat wary of the idea of cyber chips in general. What if the chip breaks down inside the body, or the body rejects it somehow? Can the chip be tracked by satellite or other means?

Can it accidentally move from its original location and get lodged somewhere else? Does this open the door to a future where humans undergo heavy cybernetic editing?

At a glance, the whole thing sounds a little disconcerting, and folks fear that they may end up losing a part of what makes them human. This line of thinking may be exaggerated, however.

It’s hard to say what will take place in the future, but fear shouldn’t cloud the truth of what these chips can do today. They aren’t trackable, they do their job, and their implantation is minimally intrusive, involving just a simple syringe and a minute of your time.

Bottom Line

All things considered, all the negative hype about implanted wallets shouldn’t take away from the good. While current technology keeps them limited, the benefits they can provide will drive advancements to counter the problems they have today.

It’s safe to say that these are exciting times for both transhumanism and cryptocurrency. We’re at the foot of their first intersection, and the road ahead seems promising.

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Andy Watson
Author: Nick Galov

Nick Galov, Hosting Expert and Content Manager. Nick is on a mission to improve the world of web hosting for some time now. When he got the chance to contribute to the betterment of all kinds of software, he simply couldn't say no. When not geeking it out, he enjoys lager and football.

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