Mehul DasApr 12, 2022 15:11:41 IST
Imagine this – you have gone out shopping but you have forgotten your wallet, or have left it in your car. The digital payment app that you normally use, is also acting up maybe because of network issues, or maybe, your bank’s network is just acting up. Seems like a nightmare, doesn’t it?
Well in the near future, you may very well be able to pay using your hand.
Walletmor, a UK based fintech firm has successfully tested and deployed a rather unique payment system, that uses NFC based microchip implants that get embedded in your hand.
The founder of the company, Wojtek Paprota, and Patrick Paumen, one of the earliest adopters of the tech have been testing this out on themselves since 2019, when Paumen first implanted a microchip that was based on the NFC based payment systems that came with certain smartphones.
Paumen describes himself as a “biohacker” – someone who puts pieces of technology into his body to try to improve his performance. He has a total of 32 implants across his body, including chips to open doors and embedded magnets.
Walletmor’s chip is the size of a grain of rice and weighs less than a gram The entire unit comprises of a tiny microchip and an antenna encased in a biopolymer – a naturally sourced material, similar to plastic.
The basic premise of the implant is that when it comes in contact with a specific reader, the reader then sends out an input, usually in the form of a request, which the NFC chip reads, processes it and sends out a response, usually in the form of output. Think of how one uses a metro card or tokens.
As innovative and unique as this solution is, some people do have concerns when it comes to getting microchips implanted.
First, there is the concern of privacy & security. The main cause of concern is whether the information stored in these chips is secure and if a person could indeed be tracked using these chips.
To allay these fears, Paprota and his team decided to go for NFC based technology, over the much more common RFID based ones. NFC chips only become active when they are within the electromagnetic field of a specific kind of a reader. Because the area of such a field is very small, they lie dormant unless they are in use.
The second concern is about medical ethics and whether or not these chips may adversely affect users.
Addressing this concern, Walletmor put out a video on their YouTube channel, explaining that they ship the implant in a sterilization pouch that is sealed inside a polymer pouch with chlorhexidine gluconate solution, a compound used in surgical procedures as an antiseptic and germicide dermal treatment.
The implant is also encapsulated in a biopolymer material that has been tested to be biocompatible and hypoallergenic. Additionally, the implant can be easily removed at any time by any general physician.