We’ve heard of all kinds of crazy Bitcoin wallet schemes to keep your data and finances safe since the online cryptocurrency first started gaining traction back in late 2011.
USB keys, digital credit cards, even military-grade encrypted tape drives that take up half a bedroom in storage – people have spent the past few years coming up with dozens of creative ways to prevent other people from cracking into their digital piggy banks and shaking out all the cash contained inside.
Out of all those though, the new Nymi wristband from Bionym has got to take the cake for the most inventive and innovative yet. By monitoring the unique identifiers that make up each person’s heartbeat with an electrocardiogram sensor, the Nymi can automatically detect the exact identifiers that make each user different from the next, and is able to apply these metrics to the realm of both financial and real-world security.
Bitcoins are normally stored on a wallet in two ways, with a public key for external deposits, and a private hash ready for any withdrawal requests or account transfers a user might want to initiate on their own. Both are hidden behind relatively bland password protection services in most cases, and it’s this hole in the market that Bionym is hoping to fill with the Nymi.
Of course, the company knows they’d be shooting themselves in the foot if they constrained this potentially limitless technology to a single application, and you can expect the Nymi to provide security not only for your Bitcoins, but any and every digital device in your life as long as it’s got a bluetooth receiver hooked up somewhere in the back.
CEO and founder of Bionym Karl Martin believes his product could hold massive potential for the identification market, giving consumers a safe, reliable, and hopefully fashionable method to seamlessly move through their own lives without the hassle of having to shove their IDs and keys in two completely separate pockets.
The trunk of your car, the front door at home, hotel rooms, laptops, anything you want to keep under lock and key can be directly linked to the unmistakably unique identifier that makes up the beat of your heart, working in much the same way other biometric privacy products like fingerprint and retina scanners do to prove you are the only one out there trying to gain access to personal files and finances.
This style of security doesn’t come without its own concerns though, because just like a regular Bitcoin wallet, if you lose the device itself, you lose all the currency stored inside its drive. Thankfully, unlike a standard USB key the Nymi is still protected by the unique identifier of your heartbeat which disables it for use by anybody else, but it’s always a good idea to keep an offline wallet stored somewhere you can trust just in case you accidentally leave the wristband at the post office or an unwitting friend decides to push you in the pool.
And don’t be worried if you think that extra cup of coffee might throw off the Nymi’s algorithm and prevent you from getting to your coins, Bionym’s chief cryptographer Yevgeniy Vahis already has it covered.
“People don’t know where their Bitcoin funds are stored, and who can access them. The Nymi’s wallet application makes the answer clear: the wallet is physically stored on the Nymi,” says Vahis. “The Nymi’s multi-factor system, including its ECG biometric, ensures secure Bitcoin storage tied to the rightful owner.”
You can pre-order the Nymi wristband now for only $79, but get them while they last because after the first 25,000 are out the door, the price will increase to $99 flat.