Cryptocurrency cards are coming to the fore. They are a hybrid between the FIAT world and a crypto wallet and aim to help the adoption of cryptocurrency by having a use as a traditional payment card, linked to a secure and offline cryptocurrency wallet, enabled via speedy blockchain transactions. The majority of these cards are designed to work with all Mastercard and Visa POS machines (point-of-sale) and are generally the new, trendy way to spend cryptocurrency via a physical card.
UKey Card is one such product, that has demonstrated incredible security features that sets this card ahead of the rest. UKey Card has been designed with brick and mortar card payments in mind and exists as an ultra secure cold storage wallet, accessed through biometric levels of security.
Designed by Alexandre Tabbakh, the CEO of Unikeys, UKey Card combines RFID technology, bluetooth, a fingerprint reader and acoustic monitoring to ensure that purchases using UKey Card are made as secure as physically possible. With all of this monitoring in place, only the registered owner of the card can access it, making it almost hack-proof in terms of brick and mortar payments.
According to RFIDJournal, Tabbakh has said:
“There’s been a huge gap in crypto acceptance because there’s been no robust and user-friendly tool to help vendors accept crypto payments.”
Moreover, in reference to current cold storage solutions:
“I don’t see Grandma using a USB drive to make a transaction.”
See more for yourself, here.
I don’t see Grandma using a USB drive to make a transaction.
He’s right though isn’t he? For crypto to really reach the mainstream, it needs to be in a format that is accessible to absolutely everyone. The card format is now universal, everyone with a bank account has a bank card and the majority of mainstream shops now accept card payments. If we want crypto to reach this level of normality, the way we pay with it needs to become normal too, this means one of two things, we either create and work on cryptocurrency payment cards, or we start to swap digital Bitcoin for actual real life minted Bitcoins. The latter is a stupid idea, therefore it seems that cards are the only way forward.
Is UKey Card really that secure?
According to RFIDJournal:
“The card includes a fingerprint sensor that ensures it can’t be used by anyone other than the cardholder, as well as wired mode or wireless NFC. The card also includes a 13.56 MHz NFC chip compliant with the ISO 14443 standard, as well as an acoustic frequencies sensor and a rechargeable battery that can be charged wirelessly. An individual using the card would first scan his or her fingerprint on the card. The card’s secure element (SE) stores that fingerprint data and requires the matching fingerprint for each transaction. The user then stores a Bitcoin or other token in the card’s SE, which is paired with the fingerprint. The card can accommodate up to eight fingerprints from one individual.”
Yes, it really is that secure. Biometric security is a growing feature, one that proves to be especially difficult to hack. So by pairing up fingerprinting with acoustic monitoring, this will prove very hard to use illicitly, much harder than a traditional payment card.
Interestingly it does state that the card will need to be charged, which in turn does pose some barriers, but then with most of us charging our mobile phones daily, is this really going to be much of an issue?
Overall, this is a very exciting product with real world implications. Crypto payment cards are the things that will bring crypto to the mainstream, get the card right and everything else will follow. I think this product, is the first step towards that.