It may seem like a futuristic method, but the truth is that there are already people who pay their expenses in stores and restaurants without using a physical card or a cell phone. His name is Patrick Paumen, he is 37 years old, and he is home to a microchip, which was implanted in his hand.
According to him, implantation hurts as much as a pinch.
In 2019, Patrick Paumen saw a contactless payment microchip being implanted in his hand. Since then, he stirs up the places he goes by simply extending his left hand in order to pay his expenses.
The reactions I get from cashiers are priceless.
Paumen, a security guard from the Netherlands, revealed that the procedure "hurts as much as when someone pinches" the skin.
In addition to the microchip, it has 31 more implants, including chips to open doors and built-in magnets; he considers himself a biohacker—a person who puts technologies in his body to power it up—and he wouldn't want to live without these technological extensions.
The implant can be used to buy a drink on the beach in Rio, a cafe in New York, a haircut in Paris, or at a local grocery store. It can be used wherever contactless payments are accepted.
Explained the founder and chief executive of Walletmor Wojtek Paprota.
THE Walletmor was, according to him, the first company to market payment microchips implantable in the skin, having already sold 500. In fact, according to BBC News, although a microchip was implanted for the first time in 1998, it is only recently that the technology began to be truly valued and commercialized.
Walletmor's chip weighs less than a gram and is barely bigger than a grain of rice. In addition, it is composed of a microchip and an antenna coated with a polymer (a material similar to plastic, of natural origin). According to the company's chief executive, the microchip is completely safe, has regulatory approval, works right after it's implanted, will stay firmly in place, and doesn't require a battery or other power source.
The company uses NFC technology on its microchips, that is, the same technology used by contactless payment systems on smartphones. In turn, other similar implants use radiofrequency identification, a technology similar to that found in debit or credit cards.
Would you like to have a microchip implanted in your hand?
Although it seems like a wild idea, according to a survey carried out in 2021, which involved more than 4,000 people from the European Union and the United Kingdom, 51% would consider the possibility. However, there were those who noted issues such as the invasion of privacy and security.
Chip implants contain the same kind of technology that people use every day, from key rings to unlocking doors, public transit cards, or bank cards with a contactless payment function.
The reading distance is limited by the small antenna coil inside the implant. The implant needs to be within the electromagnetic field of an RFID reader [ou NFC] compatible. Only when there is a magnetic coupling between the reader and the transponder can the implant be read.
Said Paumen, who is unconcerned with the questions raised by respondents.
For Theodora Lau, an expert in financial technology, payment microchips are just “an extension of the Internet of Things”. For that reason, it's just a new way of connecting and exchanging data. However, she questions the existence of a line whose crossing must be considered:
Where do we draw the line when it comes to privacy and security? Who will be protecting critical infrastructure, and the human beings who are part of it?
In addition to this, other experts question the viability of microchips.
There is a dark side to technology that has the potential for abuse. For those with no love of individual freedom, it opens up alluring new perspectives of control, manipulation and oppression.
And who owns the data? Who has access to the data? And, is it ethical to put chips on people like we do pets?
cautioned Nothing Kakabadseprofessor of politics, governance and ethics, who mentioned that this technology could result in “the weakening of the many for the benefits of the few”.