Sony, the Japanese tech giant, just announced that they were developing their own cryptocurrency wallet. Sony Computer Science Laboratories (Sony SCL) is currently working on a “contactless IC card type cryptocurrency hardware wallet technology by utilizing Sony Corporation’s IC card technology,” they said in their press release.
Intended for the commercial use, the wallet will be able to store Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies offline securely without forgoing convenience. What makes Sony’s new wallet special is the use of a contactless IC card. Existing hardware wallets on the market like the Trezor One or the Ledger Nano S need to be connected to one’s PC using a USB cord. Sony’s wallet, however, will store the user’s private key’s on a contactless IC card which can sign transactions from an NFC-enabled mobile device.
As Sony explains in their press statement:
“Sony CSL has developed a contactless IC card type hardware wallet which includes mutual authentication/encrypted communication technology by applying Sony’s expertise in contactless IC card technology cultivated over many years. The IC card type hardware wallet is small, portable and useful, unlike typical existing hardware wallets that connect to PCs via USB.”
When it comes to today’s cryptocurrency wallets, there is always the tradeoff between convenience and security. The most accessible wallets today are also the easiest to login to, which makes them less secure. Hardware wallets, on the other hand, are the most secure but must be plugged in every time for access. Through the use of IC cards, Sony SCL is working on an alternative solution that would integrate wallets into today’s wireless world through a proven, secure method.
IC Card Technology
By using IC card technology, Sony’s wallet will be able to use private keys for multiple applications, not just transactions. It will also allow for the use of personal information on the blockchain in a secure way and is therefore an “infrastructure technology with multiple possible applications.”
Sony’s development is looking to position itself not just as a research project, but as a company which seeks to dominate the cryptocurrency world. Arguably, this research development at Sony demonstrates the company’s seriousness when it comes to the blockchain space. They likely also know that their current product line will inevitably be intertwined with blockchain; and Sony also knows, if they don’t keep up with these technological developments, they could be phased out as a company. Sony is thus trying to position itself as the cutting-edge innovator in the cryptocurrency space while there is still that opening.
Sony’s Involvement Expands Blockchain Involvement
Sony has been taking concrete steps towards involvement in the cryptocurrency space. Just earlier this year, Sony formally applied for a patent for a digital rights management (DRM) platform. The patent was published by the US Patent & Trademark Office in April and it outlined a distributed ledger that would manage and store digital entitlement data on the blockchain.
This month, Sony unveiled the launch of their DRM platform which was being built on a “new framework.” The system would be built on a prior one for “authenticating, sharing, and managing rights to educational data previously developed by Sony and Sony Global Education.” The content supported by this system would include textbooks, music, films, games, audio, scientific data, VR content, and so on. In their statement then, Sony said that their DRM system fills a gap that exists today in the digital world. Rights-related information of written works, demonstrating the date and time it was created, is still not efficiently organized and their DRM system seeks to correct this, Sony argues.
DRM seems to be closely connected to Sony Global Education, which even dedicates a section of their program to ‘blockchain’ technology. The purpose of Sony Global Education is to promote “a passion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.” In a press release from February, Sony Global Education was aiming to use blockchain for the “open sharing of academic proficiency and progress records.” The press release praises Bitcoin and blockchain and argues that its underlying technology can provide easier, non-traditional education to millions of students. Sony hsa said that they plan to utilize new “blockchain-based technology” into its service offerings for Sony Global Education, beginning with its Global Math Challenge program.