A Bitcoin “Dumbphone” Solution?

I had mentioned on the main Dark Android Project page that I would be describing on this blog ways that a feature phone–or “dumbphone” (not a smartphone)–could compliment your Dark Android tablet. Since your Dark Android tablet will likely not have a persistent data connection (unless you’re in Tokyo, or something), and since said tablet will also likely not have its own globally-recognized telephone number and not be able to receive SMS messages, a dumbphone is a good fit since you can get a prepaid one in anonymous fashion–around the world–pretty easily even now. Aside from phone calls and text messages, another interesting use of this device that would have a persistent data connection of some kind is to use it as a Bitcoin hot wallet (hot wallet = a wallet that you use often).

Recently, a new technology that I found to be particularly clever and exciting, known as BitSim, allows you to do this in a very straightforward way. Check out this video to see how it all works:

Incredible, isn’t it? Whether or not this will ever come totally to fruition is questionable (most Bitcoin startup and/or hardware ideas go nowhere…mmm…smell that honesty!), but that doesn’t mean someone else couldn’t take up the charge even if BitSim doesn’t follow through.

If you didn’t watch the video, essentially BitSim is a SIM-like card that piggybacks physically onto your actual SIM card (which are normally bad, but are a necessary evil on your dumbphone…that’s why you’re using a dumbphone, though, and not a smartphone, to mitigate the risks), and it allows for Bitcoin transactions via encrypted SMS. Coinapult allows for somewhat similar functions, but BitSim seems to have big plans to allow for much more than just hot wallet services (ie: Merchant services, etc.), and it doesn’t rely on a third-party as I understand it (and whenever it’s possible, you don’t want to rely on third-parties).

Perhaps even more interesting is the possible applications of what could be done beyond Bitcoin with a piggybacked SIM-like card with a dumbphone, not just BitSim’s. This is a field that deserves a lot of exploration. Could a federated email-like network be made that is perfectly encrypted by the SIM-like card? Could encrypted voice calls be made with such a piggybacked system? Might the unassuming dumbphone be a key factor in a renaissance (or the first real start) of DAPS technology?

I generally don’t like to talk about things that aren’t actionable and usable right now on this blog, but I thought this was such a (potentially) impressive idea that I wanted to get it out there. There are still other, simpler ways, of using a dumbphone as a Bitcoin wallet, and we’ll explore those in future posts. But for now, you may be interested in seeing what you can do to make BitSim a reality if the Bitcoin/dumbphone solution is something you are interested in.


Carpe lucem!