As cryptocurrencies are edging towards mass adoption, the most prominent of them, bitcoin, has taken on many mediums of traditional fiat currencies – ATMs, debit cards, futures, etc. Another avenue for cryptocurrencies has just been opened by Singapore’s Tangem, who launched pilot sales of physical bitcoin banknotes.
Available at 0.01 and 0.05 BTC denominations, the Tangem Notes will significantly improve the ease of using and acquiring cryptocurrencies, especially for novice users with little previous experience on digital currencies. Obviously, Tangem notes differ from fiat currencies simply because they are not made from paper. Instead, they are hardware storage units, using a S3D350A chip, manufactured by Samsung.
Based in Switzerland and Singapore with manufacturing and R&D facilities in South Korea, China, Russia, Israel and Taiwan, Tandem aims to develop a platform that is easy for the general public to use and move towards mass adoption. According to the company, the chip technology brings an additional layer of safety against attacks on both hardware and software level. Tandem says the product is secure enough that, “cost of hacking a single banknote [is] uneconomical.”
While Singapore is the first country that Tandem launches its services in, 10,000 notes are already being delivered to prospective distributors worldwide for testing. If the technology proves to actually be tamper-proof, we might see the BTC notes in Europe and North America very shortly.
Tanger claims transferring ownership of the notes is anonymous and instant, which is the biggest advantage of the note. Additionally, another enticing feature is that the payment does not incur a fee. However, the notes share the cons of all physical transactions as they are less secure and convenient compared to their digital counterparts, while also being limited by distance.
Tandem boasts an impressive team, responsible for the development of their products. The company has recently teamed up with Swiss security team Kudelski Group, which audited its full source code and completed an in-depth review of the product’s architecture. Tandem has also recruited Vijay Sondhi as Senior Strategic Advisor to guide the company as it expands to new markets. Mr. Sondhi has a wealth of previous experience, having served as Senior Vice President and Head of Innovation at VISA.
It seems the company is in good hands and while it is unlikely the Tandem notes will replace our beloved paper notes any time soon, it is a welcome step forward in introducing bitcoin to the general public, who still have very little understanding on cryptocurrencies.
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