Andrew Butler

@andrewcbutler

Would you implant a cryptocurrency wallet in your body?

You swipe your hand across a service desk and instantly you have paid for your item. This is a potential option facing individuals that have subscribed to the idea of subdermal implants at the point of sale.

There is already a small but growing ‘body-hacking’ community that has an open mind about the idea of these subdermal implants and other Human Enhancement Technologies (HET). This growing sector aims to fuse the world of technology and the human body.

Subdermal implanting is the process of placing an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip under your skin. Couple this with the private key of your bitcoin wallet and you have a ready-made payment option that is impossible to lose.

Would you be comfortable having a cryptocurrency wallet as a permanent addition to your body?
What if this could also be expanded to include emergency response information or passport information?

Cryptocurrency is attempting to revolutionise the world’s digital payment system; however, the implementation of advanced technology at the point of sale is lagging behind the progress made in this sector. ‘Contactless’ payments have increased speed at the point of sale; however, this is dominated by well-established legacy payment processors such as Visa and Mastercard.

If cryptocurrency is to make an adoption statement, would subdermal implants be that statement? I would argue that at this stage, although novel and potentially revolutionary, it would be a hindrance to mass adoption. This is because it would be considered the first real attempt at implementing transhuman technology on a larger scale, which has the global community strongly divided*. What I ask is would this be a dystopian, ‘1984’ like step in a wrong direction?

Is implanting a cryptocurrency chip like something out of ‘1984’ by George Orwell?

Let’s look at the health issues. Firstly, would a subdermal cryptocurrency wallet have significant difference to other accepted implants such as birth control? It is approximately the same size and shape; however, some would argue that it is the electrical communication that worries them the most. Secondly, what are the long term effects of having this foreign electrical object stored long term within your body? This is something that requires significant study and at present there are limited test cases.

The implantable technology available for individuals at present is quite limited, only being able to hold small amounts of data and have limited interactivity. The chips are very small and easy to insert. You would be able to store your private key securely in a ‘cold wallet’ setup that is impossible to lose. It is genuinely the safest way to connect you as a person to your economic position. No longer is the store of value something separate from the person, the subdermal implant would combine human and financial position intimately.

The ‘body-hacking’ community is growing larger and some of their ideas that were once considered science fiction are becoming reality. It is human nature to want to push the envelope and the combination of technology interfacing with the human body is too convenient to ignore.

Thanks for reading. I manage a soon to be launched Digital Currency Exchange based in Australia. Check us out at www.easycrypto.com.au or if you are in New Zealand we are already running at www.easycrypto.nz.

*Personally, I would not at this stage consider a subdermal implant.

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