February 4, 2014 -
Bionym’s wearable biometric authentication device – The Nymi — will launch with a Bitcoin wallet as one of its initial applications, the company announced Tuesday.
As an emerging digital currency, Bitcoin functions on a peer-to-peer network of computing nodes. To participate in Bitcoin, a user must have a Bitcoin wallet, which contains a public and a private key. The public key allows anyone to deposit funds into the account. The private key allows the account owner to send funds out to different accounts.
The private key is a prize for hackers. For Bitcoin to truly become more accessible, a robust security system needs to be established in order to protect it. To function securely, the Bitcoin network relies on relatively complex software that requires configuration. If Bitcoin is to become a widely used currency, its network needs to become more accessible to the general public.
“People don’t know where their Bitcoin funds are stored, and who can access them,” Yevgeniy Vahlis, Bionym’s Chief Cryptographer said. “The Nymi’s wallet application makes the answer clear: the wallet is physically stored on the Nymi. The Nymi’s multi-factor system, including its ECG biometric, ensures secure Bitcoin storage tied to the rightful owner.”
According to the company, a key advantage of the Nymi’s technology is that it will be able to generate outgoing Bitcoin transactions without ever exposing the private key to the outside world. The Nymi also provides a way for Nymi owners to engage with the Bitcoin network.
The Nymi is currently available to be preordered.
Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, Bionym came out of the galtes like a bolt of lightning when it announced its ECG bracelelt project, Nymi. The small Toronto-based company announced Nymi in Fall 2013 and saw massive interest from around the world.
The Nymi uses an embedded electrocardiogram sensor to ambiently identify users. It recognizes unique ECG patterns and interfaces directly with mobile devices as a replacement for passwords and PINs. Based on the kind of on-going recognition this device employs, users remain authenticated until the bracelet itself is removed. Using ECG authentication, Bionym is really breaking new ground with this device, and the wearable technology space couldn’t be hotter at the moment.
The Nymi also made BiometricUpdate.com’s list of top consumer biometric gadgets for 2013.