Bitcoin under your skin: Dutch man embeds chips in hands to store cryptocurrency

Martijn Wismeijer (Screenshot from YouTube video by Mr Bitcoin)
The founder the bitcoin ATM firm, Mr Bitcoin, has embedded a tiny chip in his hands to keep his digital currency safe, which also gives him an in-body set of keys and an alarm clock.

Dutch entrepreneur Martijn Wismeijer has had an NFC (near-field communication) chip injected into each hand between the muscle and skin tissue.

The ultra-cautious Mr Wismeijer says it’s crucial to get the chips encrypted to prevent theft, although actually stealing the chips would be tricky, bloody and painful for their owner.

Each chip, manufactured from glass, is 2mm x 12mm, and can hold up to 888 bites of programmable memory, the equivalent of about 26 condensed bitcoin private keys.

“I did it because I wanted to experiment with strong bitcoins using subdermal implants because that’s what I thought would be the Holy Grail of contactless payments,” he told the IBTimes.

But Mr Wismeijer found that the microchips could be used for a number of other things and can be read by smartphones like the Apple iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S5.

“I found you can use them for lots of different things, even as an alarm snooze button. To switch off my alarm I need to scan either one or two of the implants, so this way it takes a little bit of fiddling so you never oversleep again,” he said.

Wismeijer also hopes to get a special door lock fitted to his house, which will allow him to do away with keys by touching his palm on the door frame to enter.

“I thought that if the storage is limited then there's no point in just getting one if I could have two, because with one I could store private information like cryptocurrency or two-factor authentication for passwords, while the other one I could use for public things like my emergency contacts or my business card," he said.

No pain no gain

Wismeijer does not recommend people try and install it in their bodies themselves.

“Most doctors will not want to install the implant so a body manipulation artist (preferably not just a 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,” he told the Telegraph.

The pain lasts only for a day he said. When asked, mainly be older people, why he bothers to go to such lengths, Wismeijer says it’s all in the name of progress. He hopes that in the not too distant future we will be able to have more complex chips fitted into our bodies that will be able to monitor things like heart rate and glucose levels.