Modification Suggestions

These where just some ideas I had sitting in my head, and figured why not let everyone see them and see if they are even worth looking further into. Please don't flame me on the ideas, as I was just trying to find ways to better the network. I know defiantly for the card itself, it is its own perfection. I really had my mind spinning around the first 2 ideas since I first heard and started to learn more about Bitcoincard.

[You can find a better formatted version @ ]


  • USB w/ Pre-Installed Blockchain & Updater
    • This is to make it as simple as possible for normal users. Let them just plug in the USB with an active connection and it will auto-launch the update that will automatically search for Bitcoincard devices to sync the network to.
    • The USB device would net at least 4-8GB for potential upgrades to the Bitcoin Network and expansion of the transaction list.

  • 3G/WiFi Pre-Enabled w/ Pre-Installed Blockchain & Updater
    • All the features of the first option, but with the ability to configure a 3G option, or log into the nearest WiFi hotspot to grab the latest chain.
    • Bascially this will be a portable computer (yeah, I get the irony of this) that will have a simple command to connect to the Bitcoin Network and grab the latest blocks (an LED on the Dongle with blink whilst this is downloading). Once finished, an LED on the Dongle will be solid green to let everyone around them that the Dongle/Node/Server is ready to be connected to.
      • If the device goes this far, why not add a small LCD to display how many users are locally connected? It would be interesting to see statistics.

    • Possible side-effects would be having to have a battery just for the server (which may not be a problem, depending on how much power it takes up). If the blockchain is up-to-date, then there won't be an issue with keeping the latest blocks, thus most likely not taking too much of a power hit.

  • Mobile Mod? (iPhone App, Android App...etc)
    • The ability to plug in an adapter to your phone (or use 3G and WiFi-Sharing from the mobile device) to update the Dongle (Server) to the latest blockchain.
    • The app for this mod will only be to update the integrity or the latest version of the blockchain, dependant that it's less than XMb's of space for data-transfer issues.
      • I say 3G to make the Bitcoincard be more diverse more updating within the outer-network (Bitcoin Network) of the Ad-Hoc central.

  • WiFi/3G/Bluetooth? [Mobile Mod] -Horrible Idea, idea-
    • Not sure how bulky this would be, but would it be possible to add an option to allow one of all of these features to the Bitcoincard? My main suggestion is for the WiFi. This would allow users to be able to sync up to the Ad-Hoc network over a WiFi connection. Though, at minimum of 2 users would have to be connected and the data connections might get loaded down with too many people connected to the single phone connection. Actually, this might be a bad idea.

07/09/2012 05:26:27
Thank you for sharing Sam!

Neat idea about blockchain on the dongle. Omnia mea mecum porto. We were going to have some flash memory on it anyway to get the server software and drivers installed automatically. We'll need to look at such issues as speed vs cost, wear levelling, and consistency (people will always unplug USB devices disregarding the safe removal procedures); but it certainly looks like a good usability booster.

A 3G/WiFi-enabled portable computer running a dedicated server is good to have too, and we've been thinking about it already. There is no reason for it to be a USB dongle then; it can just be made like a plug computer. Or we could simply take an off-the-shelf plug computer and insert the regular bitcoincard USB dongle in there. In any case, I'd definitely like a small LCD display on it!

A module for a phone sounds sensible too.

However, getting another radio (3G/WiFi/Bluetooth) onto the card itself is not technically achievable due to space and power constraints, I'm afraid. We'll have to delegate Internet connectivity to those devices that can do it better.
07/10/2012 02:40:26
Have you considered using RaspberryPi as a server? Bitcoind seems to be running on it. So all you have to do is to provide a SDHC card with a preinstalled software! Since the demand for RPi's is huge (I've seen figures claiming currently ~400 000 orders), IMO that would be a very cost effective way to get a lot of servers out there.
07/10/2012 02:50:25
This one too, I guess.
07/11/2012 05:27:07
There is always a trade-off between the size and the supported features. On one hand, "nobody wants another gadget", thus the credit-card size. On the other hand, the credit-card size severely limits the power budget of the device.

If we have no fear of "yet another gadget", we could consider something looking like an iPod or an MP3 player. It could play music as well :) Such a device can have much better networking capabilities, both in ad-hoc networks and using WiFi or 3G for very short periods of time if required. A nice side-effect of the ad-hoc plus operator-assisted networks is that the Bitcoin transactions posted from my IP address (phone number) are not necessarily mine. In fact, the same transaction is likely to be posted via several such devices. And, of course, the device must have a USB interface too.
08/06/2012 19:49:02
One very strong reason for not using a more powerful/versatile device is that it becomes susceptible to security exploits. There was no such thing as malware for dumb phones, but smart phones are vulnerable. I don't want a Bitcoin wallet that can contract digital diseases and give up my money. I want a device that cannot be upgraded over the air and cannot run "apps." One of Bitcoincard's greatest strengths is that it's a relatively "dumb" device; it does one thing, the same way, forever, and you never have to worry that it will do something else.
08/07/2012 01:31:04
Yes, this certainly must be a dedicated device, no third party apps. It's just so tempting to have a larger battery and a better energy budget, leaving the rest essentially the same. What do you think, is 0.8 mm thickness really important? If a dedicated Bitcoin device (with better communications capabilities) looked like an iPod, or like an MP3 player, would it be much of a disadvantage compared to the card? Again, I'm talking about a "dumb" device here.
08/07/2012 06:31:52
I would carry the device all the time if it fits in my wallet (in place of some other plastic card). If I would have to carry it separately, I'd probably leave it behind and just use my smart phone. So yes, I'd say the extremely thin form factor is the only saving grace of having One More Thing to carry around.
07/20/2012 04:49:02
hello I'm jumping in the discussion here.

I really think we should stay and focus on the bitcoin card as proposed here: the size of a credit card, and nothing more.Let's keep it cheap, simple, and awesome.

I already talked about it around me, and people seems to really like the idea of using the "credit card" for a solid currency like bitcoin. They don't want more, they just want the best of the two world: cryptocurrency and offline "cash" transactions.

08/07/2012 02:26:40
Hi Raphael,

It looks like the next version of the card will have no solar panel. The reason is that it is dark in the people's wallets, and leaving the card in the sun to charge is actually more hassle than charging it from a wall plug. Which option looks less ugly to you:

1. A primary battery is used. The energy of the battery will be sufficient for up to 5000 transactions (incoming or outgoing) that go through an Internet connected gateway. Card-to-card transactions are much more energy expensive, so about 400 card-to-card transactions would drain the battery. (The numbers come from the power budget estimates, the actuals measured after the production of the card can be worse). After the battery runs out, the bitcoins remaining on the card are lost forever.

2. Smart card contacts like on a credit card with a chip, according to ISO-IEC 7816. One has to use a USB smart card reader to charge the card. The card can be used for Internet transactions, the destination bitcoin address and the amount of the payment is shown on the display of the card. The user must confirm an Internet payment by entring the PIN on the keyboard of the card. The full charge should last for a week of intensive use, including card-to-card transactions without a gateway.

3. A USB interface, but a special cable is required. The contact pads are done according to the latest revision of the ISO-IEC 7816 standard, which supports USB interface to smart cards now. A special USB cable with a connector like this must be used. It should be possible to use such a cable with off-the-shelf chargers having a mini-USB or a micro-USB interface. The functionaloty is like in (2) above.
08/07/2012 14:01:19

For me the first proposition is not possible, too dangerous and inconvenient.

The two others seem, from a user point of view, the same, only the type of charger change (correct me if I'm wrong). So I'd go to the most cost effective one (cheapest) between the 2 and the 3. The 3 should be the best option, no credit card chip and no smart card reader.

By the way I think you could use a community like for more ideas like that. If you don't have the time, we can sort it out, I can help you on that. Don't hesitate to contact me.

Thanks for your work,
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01/04/2016 04:31:33
good Idea.If we have no fear of "yet another gadget", we could consider something looking like an iPod or an MP3 player. It could play music as well :) Such a device can have much better networking capabilities, both in ad-hoc networks and using WiFi or 3G for very short periods of time if required.
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