future of the pin

it is now fashionable to invent a smartphone-based solution for every task; doing so often throws up new complications, which engineers readily fix by introducting additional layers of technical complexity. before finding new ways to replace every system with a phone\app, i suggest decomputing the task: distilling it down to its components, and playing with simple systems as a starting point for further development.

today, bank cards and merchant machines, both, are being replaced by smartphones. while phones are more convenient and ubiquitous, they are less trustworthy (for example: other apps on a phone may spy on an entered pin or transmitted data, etc).

in replacing a bank-card with a smartphone, fin-tech companies are blurring the line between personal identity and financial identity, oft confining a person’s financial freedom to biometrics or other idiosyncratic parameters. further, the use of biometrics for id-ing a person is dangerous, because biometrics can not be modified or replaced easily once they are compromised.

this project was produced to instigate conversation on these points, so that fin-tech companies don’t blindly transport the existing chip-&-pin system onto smartphones.

work: concept, design, electronics, firmware.
in response to a brief from worldpay and austin houldsworth.
and thanks to: robert toth’s technical nous ; anna unger’s hands.