One of the major drawbacks of FinTech payment solutions – including Bitcoin – is the dependency on mobile device battery levels. In this day and age, a user’s mobile battery won’t last for a day when actively using the device, which renders the whole point of new payment methods somewhat moot. But there is a startup in Ukraine that may have cracked the secret to long-range wireless charging, making mobile payments more appealing to consumers.
Happy Mobile Battery Levels Make Happy Customers
Cash transactions don’t offer many advantages, but they aren’t subject to recharging devices or using fancy new tools to complete a transaction. All a consumer has to do is take the bills or coins out of their wallet, hand them over, and receive change [if any]. No cards or mobile devices involved, and accepted at nearly every location in the world.
Or to be more precise, cash transactions are still accepted right now, but they are slowly on the way out. More and more countries are transitioning to a cashless society, where plastic cards become the new norm as far as paying for goods and services goes. Unfortunately, plastic cards are not that secure, nor are the payment terminals used to process these transactions.
Coming up with a new solution is not all that easy. Enhancing plastic card security is a step in the right direction, but still forces consumers to keep an additional medium of payment on them at all times. If only there were a mobile solution, as so many consumers carry smart devices on them at all times.
Other than the obvious issues associated with mobile payments – bank participation, upgrading payment terminals, and global availability – there is the issue of device battery levels. Despite the many technological breakthroughs engineers have made in recent years, a long-lasting mobile battery is not one of them.
Most consumers will make sure their devices are charged fully before leaving the home, which solves the issue of drained batteries when attempting to make mobile payments. That being said, there is always the risk of running out of battery on a device, for some different reasons. In most cases, one or more applications will drain a battery by running in the background.
But what if there was a solution that could ensure long-range wireless charging was no longer an issue, keeping mobile device battery levels topped off at all times? Up until now, that has been an unrealistic dream, as all of our current charging methods need to be connected to a power socket or USB port somehow. One exception comes in the form of powerbanks, but once again, they are an extra item to carry around at all times.
Ukrainian Startup Cracks The Long-Distance Wireless Charging Code
Transferring electricity to a device that is nowhere even near a charger is quite the challenge, but Ukrainian company XE has a working prototype. Or to be more precise, their prototype can charge wirelessly up to 16 feet from the charging station. Once this technology becomes commercialized, the charging station and a dedicated smartphone case will be bundled.
XE Founder Ivan Chuba explained the principle as follows:
“The main breakthrough we’ve achieved is the antenna. On our working frequency, which is in the SW band, you’d normally need a large antenna to receive the signal and pass it on to the converter. We have built an antenna capable of doing this that can be housed in an iPhone 6/6S case. We spent a long time checking all the frequencies in this band to find the best one for our purposes.”
What makes this solution so interesting is how one XE charger can provide enough power to charge up to four mobile devices simultaneously. Putting a few of these devices near the checkout area could give a boost to mobile payments as users will have an incentive to pull out their smartphone or tablet to start charging.
This brings us to the main issue plaguing mobile payment adoption – including Bitcoin – by consumers: they tend to forget the option is even at their disposal. When thinking of paying at a store, people will automatically revert to either cash or plastic cards because they have become so ingrained into our society.
Bitcoin adoption, on the consumer side, could see a healthy boost from mass deployment of these wireless chargers at retail locations as well. There are plenty of merchants and stores around the world accepting Bitcoin payments directly, and mobile solutions like Plutus make it even easier to spend BTC at NFC-enabled payment terminals.
Will long-range wireless charging be beneficial to Bitcoin adoption in your opinion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Source: Ars Technica
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, XE