Get ready to “Flip your coin”: Florida-based technology company NXT-ID has unveiled a new contactless payment device for cryptocurrencies.
Flip allows customers to pay for items with Bitcoin if a vendor accepts near-field communication (NFC) transactions. The device uses FitPay, the contactless payments system for wearables and IoT devices developed by the NXT-ID subsidiary of the same name.
In a recent interview with InvestorIdeas, NXT-ID boss Gino Pereira boss explained, “Flip is a product under which we provide a crypto-wallet, in which individuals can deposit bitcoin. Bitcoin is converted into what is essentially a prepaid debit card, which is then available for use to spend as cash anywhere that accepts NFC payments.”
To begin with, Flip will only accept bitcoin and US dollars when it launches in Q2 2018 (the company will accept pre-orders later this month). But Pereira said that if the rollout goes as planned, Flip will be expanded to accept other cryptocurrencies and payment options.
“We anticipate that will widen as we go forward with our development, but our initial offering is limited to US currency and bitcoin,” he told Investorideas.
The company is ploughing more money into blockchain and cryptocurrency systems, he said.
While extravagant claims have been made for cryptocurrencies creating an alternative, distributed financial system of the future, the market is extremely volatile. At the time of writing, one bitcoin is worth roughly $10,000, after hitting a high of $20,000 earlier this year.
Pereira said he is aware of the uncertainty, but believes cryptocurrencies have enormous future potential.
“There’s obviously a lot of volatility and it’s very early on so there are a number of question marks over it,” he said. “But with the basic concept of blockchain and security, and cryptocurrencies, we believe they are here to stay as part of the overall payment ecosystem.”
NXT-ID has recently formed a partnership with GPS systems maker, Garmin. “We have a number of other arrangements with IoT manufacturers, which will probably be announced as they’re closer to launching their products,” said Pereira.
Internet of Business says
The deep connections between blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and the IoT should now be clear, and a world is emerging in which human beings can spend or receive money seamlessly within smart environments.
For example, this excellent Internet of Business report on positioning systems explores a number of case studies, in which people pay for bikes as they ride them around town, or receive their wages in micro-payments whenever they’re in the workplace. Meanwhile in China, shoppers are able to pay for goods by smiling at face-recognition systems, using technology provided by Face++.
However, while many of these systems are exciting, and reveal the dismantling of a unit-based system in favour of always-on services – even for physical goods, which we may never purchase outright in future – we should beware of investing too much power in distributed ledgers.
Consider this: A world in which people are only paid for being in a specific location may also be one in which people never leave that location. The implications of that will need careful consideration in order to ensure that distributed, decentralised systems benefit everyone – as they are designed to do.