Patric Lanhed is trying to send one euro worth of Bitcoin from one digital wallet to another. But first, he has to hold a near-field communication (NFC) chip reader against his hand. Underneath his skin is a tiny computer chip, a popular modification among the bodyhacking crowd, which contains the secret key to his Bitcoin wallet.
Once the scan is complete, and custom software written by Lanhed and his collaborator Juanjo Tara—a software developer for Arduino—confirms that the key stored on the chip is legitimate, the pair anxiously watch a screen displaying a Bitcoin wallet, waiting for its balance to go up.
When it does, Lanhed exclaims, “It worked!” and Tara whistles.
With that, Lanhed and Tara have completed what they call a Bitcoin “bio-payment”—a way to send and receive cryptocurrency using data literally stored inside your body, and some custom software built on top of a Bitcoin wallet’s developer API.
What Lanhed and Tara have done really isn’t all that different from what other implementations of NFC technology already accomplish. Circle, an app for Bitcoin payments, for example, has NFC functionality built-in. Medical bracelets with NFC tech have also been around for a few years. But the