There are 17 billion bank cards in circulation, which helps shuttle unthinkable quantities of capital around the world on a daily basis, with little more effort required from customers than a simple tap of a payment terminal.

The idea of using a bank card or phone to pay for a product is not feasible for a lot of users.

The payments for these people are as easy as waving their hand. All it takes is a willingness to have a subdermal payment implant.

The future of payments was created by a Polish startup called Walletmor.

The world's first payment implants that are globally accepted have been designed and created by Walletmor. It is an amazing device.

Payments, cyborg-style

A person using Walletmor chip arm implant to make a payment.

A couple of years ago, Paprota came up with the idea for Walletmor, a startup with a background in wealth management and finance. He was struck by an innocuous scene in which a character opened a door using an embedded smart chip while reading a Polish science fiction novel, Internet ludzi: Organizacja jutra.

He said that there are already things like that on the market.

Paprota notes that the idea of implanting a device larger than a grain of rice into the body is not new. Kevin Warwick, a professor in the Department of Cybernetics at the U.K.'s University of Reading, made headlines in 1998 when he decided to have a glass tube implanted under his left arm.

The implant connected to a central computer, which allowed Warwick to open doors and switch on lights in his lab. At the time, he reported that he felt like an implant in his body.

Paprota explained that the chip is different because it connects to an open standard and not a closed loop. The fact that his company is selling chips is also different from lab-based proof-of-concept demos.

Building a prototype

The Walletmor chip arm implant that is used to make payments.

There was a fair amount of experimentation in the path to reach this point. Paprota turned to a person who had done work in this field to help him realize his dream. Paprota had his concerns despite the fact that Graafstra was the most respectable person in the smart implants space.

Paprota recalled that Amal said that he couldn't guarantee that it would succeed because he hadn't done something like that before.

The prototype was ready and the company began marketing it to customers. It is only available in Europe, but it is hoped that it will eventually be available in the U.S.

Customers must first order the 199 euro implant through the website in order to use the device. They need to open an iCard or account in the U.K. to create a digital wallet linkable with the implant. After that, they link the implant to the account with an easy activation code, add money to the account to begin spending, and finally pay a visit to their friendly neighborhood.

Near-field communication (NFC) technology is used in the device to make payments, similar to the system used in Apple Pay.

Paprota said thatWalletmor is only responsible for the hardware for the implants, and that they build them and deliver them to the customers.

The future of payments?

Woman using the Walletmor app.

Is this the next step of payments? Paprota believes in a future where consumer payments are made in a robot. He admits that there are some problems. The device is relatively expensive compared to freely available bank cards, which come with an additional benefit of not needing to be physically inserted into the body.

Other payment options aren't capable of delivering and the implants don't do a lot. It doesn't solve any pain points, with the exception that you're unlikely to accidentally leave your subdermal chip at home, and it's less likely to be snatched by thieves on a night out.

Paprota made an interesting point about why banks might be interested in adopting this. The one that gets chosen will win, and banks will make money when we use our cards.

It will take more than just a few seconds on a payment for most people to willingly undergo surgery in order to get one with their bank. The future bit comes in.

Paprota said that they are planning to introduce multiple applications to their implant. You could use this at the airport for your passport or medical certification, and you could also pay for it. If you have an accident, this could be installed in your body to make sure that the first responders get the most crucial data to provide you with the appropriate first aid. The more features and applications you get, the more attractive it will be to customers. Think of it as a collection of our identities.

Global acceptance

It's not clear whether that happens. Paprota may talk about the world's first payment implants being accepted as globally accepted, but your mileage may vary. Paprota is not under any illusions. He knows that this kind of tech has a lot of work to do before it is universally accepted. He has faith in the general public.

The social acceptance of this device is the most important challenge that we are facing at the moment. The internet was developed and supported by the younger generations. It took at least 10 years for it to be fully realized, and you still see older people not using personal computers. I think it will be the same for implants. I'm ready to work for the next 30 years on this project, and I'm fully committed to that.

Soon to an arm near you.

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