The Bitcoin-based hardware and software manufacturer General Bytes has developed an NFC bitcoin wallet that hopes to replace the 22-year old QR code. The card allows users to transact with compatible point of sale (POS) terminals, allowing anyone to pay with bitcoin.
General Bytes’ New Bitcoin NFC Wallet Cards
General Bytes is a cryptocurrency startup founded in 2013 that sells bitcoin automated teller machines and other blockchain-based products. The company, headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic, was the first to implement near field communication (NFC) technology into their devices. Now the firm is taking it a step further by developing a machine that dispenses NFC wallet cards that can be loaded with bitcoins.
According to Martijn Wismeijer, marketing manager at General Bytes, QR codes are gradually being replaced by Bluetooth and NFC tag technology. Wismeijer told Bitcoin.com the newly developed NFC wallet card system simplifies the user experience when transacting with bitcoin.
The company’s BATMThree XXL plus model dispenses the wallet cards and is the first ATM in the industry with this type of functionality. The idea stemmed from the biohacking community that already uses NFC designed bitcoin wallet implants. However, the company realizes not everyone wants to get an implant, and General Bytes believes the cards are the next best thing.
“The idea is to work together with the Bitcoin community and build from there as it was the biohacking community that inspired us to use NFC in the first place.” Wismeijer said.
NFC Wallet Cards ‘Tried and Tested’
To build the NFC wallet products, the startup had to implement certain architecture such as the WIF (Wallet Import Format). This integration allows storage of bitcoin keys on the card’s NFC chip. The company has also tested the cards with the CortexPay POS terminal that was launched in 2015. CortexPay terminals have been widely used by visitors of Paralelni Polis in Prague and General Bytes says the system is quite reliable.
Using the BATMThree XXL+, all the user has to do is purchase a wallet card via the machine’s interface. While the device manufactures the card, bitcoin keys are written into the NFC compatible wallet card. NFC chip cards are not programmed until the sale is finalized with the end user. Cards are all black but can be designed to be printed in full color, and branded cards can be pre-loaded by the ATM operator as well.
Killing the QR: ‘Getting Rid of a Relic From the Past’
General Bytes believes the NFC wallet cards are important for the future of cryptocurrency. The company says cards takes the annoyance of fiddling with your phone out of the equation. The team believes the cards are ideal for day-to-day payments, petty cash, and storage. If the card is not used at a POS device, it can be used as a physical savings account as well.
Currently, the BATMThree XXL+ model is available for those interested in operating a bitcoin ATM. Additionally, the startup’s hardware and software is open source via GitHub. General Bytes is pleased to offer this new type of product and hopes QR codes become a thing of the past. Marketing manager Martijn Wismeijer explained:
By killing the QR code in crypto we not only get rid of a bit of a relic from the past but also remove the need for a mobile phone in most cryptocurrency applications while at the same time greatly simplifying the end-user experience. It’s one of those rare win-win situations so let’s all work together to make 2017 the year Bitcoin becomes the swipe-to-pay cryptocurrency that can be used by anyone. The General Bytes hardware is ready for it.
What do you think about the NFC wallet cards from General Bytes? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of General Bytes Martijn Wismeijer
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