The Stack Archive

Bitcoin entrepreneur injects handy microchips under skin to store virtual riches

Tue 11 Nov 2014

Martin Wismeijer, a Dutch entrepreneur has implanted two computer chips in his hands to stash Bitcoin inside his body.

Wismeijer is the founder of the digital currency company Mr Bitcoin which operates in his native Amsterdam, and across Europe. He decided to undergo the procedure this month to embed two glass near-field communication chips under his skin which can sync with devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Although Wismeijer has already trialled storing his Bitcoin on the chips, he still remains hesitant to use them as permanent ‘wallets’ – deciding that the technology is not yet secure enough to prevent theft. However, he did announce that initial experiments had been a success.

The entrepreneur has also experimented with the chips to operate a personalised alarm clock, programming the device to switch off only when he touches both of the embedded chips against the alarm’s sensors. Wismeijer is also looking at installing a smart keyless door system at his home so that he is able to unlock his front door by simply touching his palm to the door frame.

The microchips, which were implanted using a pre-installed syringe, measure 2mm by 12mm and store 888 bytes. Chips with more memory are currently being developed, however these models are expected to be more painful to embed due to their increased size.

“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,” explained Wismeijer.

Wismeijer warned that it is important to let the injection wound heal before experimenting with the device: “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,” he said.

“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 someday, 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 a 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,” Wismeijer added.

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