Man embeds computer chips in hands to store virtual currency inside his body.
A Dutch entrepreneur has had two wireless computer chips implanted under the skin in his hands to allow him to store digital currencies like Bitcoin inside his body.
Bitcoin is explained by Wikipedia as an online payment scheme invented in 2008 and users can transact directly without needing an intermediary like a traditional bank. The system works without a central repository or single administrator, which has led the US Treasury to categorize it as a decentralized virtual currency.
With roughly 12 million existing bitcoins in November 2013, the new price increased the market cap for bitcoin to at least US$7.2 billion. By 23 November 2013, the total market capitalization of bitcoin exceeded US$10 billion for the first time. One bitcoin is today currently worth about $227 USD.
Martijn Wismeijer is the founder of Mr Bitcoin, a company which installs and operates crypto-currency cash machines in and around his native Amsterdam and across Europe.
This month, Wismeijer chose to undergo a painful procedure to embed NFC (near-field communication) chips under his skin. These chips can be read by a range of devices including smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Apple iPhone 6, and can be adapted for a range of uses. He uses the chip to store the private keys for his Bitcoin wallets, which store the information necessary to transact bitcoins on or offline.
The glass chips he had implanted were xNTi devices which come pre-installed in syringes to plunge them into the fatty flesh under the skin. The 2mm by 12mm chips only store 888 bytes, but can transfer that over short distances when in the presence of an NFC reader.
New models with more memory are currently being designed, but these will be larger and more painful to install as 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 Wismeijer.
“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.”
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