Dutch bitcoin entrepreneur is one of about 1,500 people injected with RFID chips

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Dutch bitcoin entrepreneur, Martijn Wismeijer, has had two microchips containing the virtual currency injected into his hands, AFP reported on November 12, 2014. The chips are enclosed in a 2mm by 12mm capsule of “biocompatible” glass. They were injected by a professional, utilizing special syringe. The chips are meant to allow their carrier to serve as a “virtual wallet,” enabling him to make contactless payments.

RFID (radio-frequency identification) chips emit radio signals, using Near Field Communication (NFC). Each microchip can store up to 888 bits of information. Besides storing bitcoins, along with a smartphone, the chips can be programmed to perform other tasks. For example, they can be used to open doors electronically or turn off an alarm clock.

Wismeijer, co-founder of MrBitcoin, said: “We wanted to do this experiment to push further the concept of the virtual wallet.” He was injected with the chips along with a handful of other people on November 3, 2014.

Using NFC signals, the chips can communicate with electronic devices, such as Android smartphones or tablets. “The payment device remains the smartphone, but you transfer funds from the chips,” Wismeijer explained. Publicity caused him to temporarily withdraw the money from his hands, for security reasons.

These microchips are available on the Internet. They are being sold, along with a syringe, for $99 by the Dangerous Things company. Micro-chipping by a professional costs about $30. RFID chips are being injected into the space between the thumb and pointer finger, using the same type of a syringe that is commonly utilized for micro-chipping pets. Anyone injected with a chip responds to radio signals with a unique identifier, a procedure typically reserved for tracking pets and livestock. Privacy advocates have long warned that the chips could allow individuals to be tracked by governments and corporations, even when the RFID chips are included in passports or clothing. These issues are especially disconcerting for the chips that are being injected subcutaneously. Wismeijer said that around 1,500 people around the world have already had such chips injected.

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