NFC Bitcoins and Fun with Near Field Communication

NFC Bitcoin

Bitcoin is inherently a digital currency however that doesn’t mean that they have to stay online, quite the opposite in fact. Several companies have made efforts to develop their own physical versions of the currency that simply hold the data in the form of hidden or encrypted keys and scan-able QR codes.

NFC Bitcoin KeychainAs I had a bunch of NFC tags laying around the house that allow for scanning data just by hovering your mobile device over them I decided to have some fun with them. The first proof of concept was with a simple NFC keychain that I programmed to hold a public bitcoin address so that people could scan to make a payment.

Next I got a little more creative and managed to embed some code to an NFC enabled card that could hold an encrypted private key whilst also allowing people to scan it to make a payment to the public address. It doesn’t look much but that card is below…

NFC Bitcoin Card

Eventually I re-discovered the fact that you could get physical Bitcoins with no loaded value (intended for promotion) and decided the final challenge was to make a literal Bitcoin-coin. I ordered a batch of 50 and managed to match them up with a type of NFC tag that happened to fit almost perfectly and is designed to work on metal. The resulting bitcoins are what you see in the picture at the top of this post and in the image below…

NFC Bitcoins

With smartphones becoming more prominent than ever and the growing usage of NFC as a payment system for government backed currencies as well I see a lot of potential for Bitcoin to be used in physical retail outlets. Companies increasingly have access to NFC readers and of course, as a fallback these could easily be printed with QR codes and even physical addresses for more cost effective legacy scanners & POS (Point of Sale) systems.

Can you see NFC Bitcoins taking off?


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