Forget QR Codes, NFC Bitcoin Wallet Cards Are Here

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.

Also read: Bitstamp Tries the Crowdfunding Route at $60 Million Valuation

General Bytes’ New Bitcoin NFC Wallet Cards  

general_bytes-svgGeneral 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 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.

General Bytes NFC bitcoin wallet cards can be branded in any color or size

 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.

BATMThree XXL+ is a first of its kind automated teller

Killing the QR: ‘Getting Rid of a Relic From the Past’

Using an NFC card at Paralelni Polis

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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  • Sure Thing

    doenst your public bitcoin code change all the time?

  • In locations where there are very few smartphones, this is a pretty good idea. Send me one of those black cards and I’ll make sure we enable BlockPay to work with them! (contact us at

    • The cards can be full-color printed with any design you like! We left them black in the demo picture to illustrate this but can be used for branding by the operator.

      • Jens Meding

        Where can i get them? i coulnt find a link.
        we are brand owner of a wallet and would like to add it to.

  • Jamie, there is an error in the article: “software is fully open source”, it is not “fully” opensourced, only small part of it is.

    • Jamie Redman

      Correct. It is now updated.

  • Václav Šír

    This thing is even a little less safe, than the good old QR paper wallets. When you use this NFC wallet, you share your private key with the merchant. You have to trust them to forget the key after they sign the transaction. And unlike the paper wallet, this can be read by anyone in the close distance, even when hidden in a pocket (unless you use some shielded wallet).

    I use the card, when I’m at the Paralelni Polis, but only for small amounts and knowing it’s not safe.

    • Yes. That’s why we recommend using the companion app on your phone at untrusted merchants and use a separate card for savings. The Point of Sale terminals are tamper proof so that will not be an issue. Shielded wallets are common nowadays and are available everywhere. It is easy for the user to grasp the security. In the sleeve = protected, out of sleeve = scanable. Just like bank cards. The system also allows for BIP38 encrypted keys so the remote scanning problem is mitigated.

  • Great. CoolWallet has NFC and is prepared for this function for a while.