Near-field communication (NFC) is a set of standards designed to bring wireless communication closer to physical objects, be that phones, tablets or other devices. As its name suggests, NFC is most commonly associated with short-range wireless communication – in other words, the radio waves that devices use to connect with each other. However, while NFC is used to transfer small amounts of data – such as identifying or contact information – between devices, the technology can also be used for larger transactions, such as mobile bitcoin transfers.
What Is NFC Enabled On?
If your device supports NFC, you’ll see a small button near the screen on every phone, tablet or other device that supports the technology. When you push the button, the NFC chip inside the device will activate and begin transmitting data to other devices that are within range, much like a wireless network does. To protect your privacy, NFC is usually disabled by default, and you’ll have to specifically switch it on before you can use it. If you have an iPhone, you can find the hidden setting to turn on NFC in the Phone’s settings menu.
What Is NFC Range?
The range of NFC is fairly short – typically less than 10 meters, or 3.1 feet – but it’s enough to allow for some basic proximity based interactions. The best thing about NFC is that it allows for simple and secure transactions between two devices that are in close proximity to each other. For example, if you have an NFC-enabled wallet on your phone and you want to send some cryptocurrency to another device, you’ll only need to be in range for the transfer to take place. There’s no need to type in complex passwords or use email to transfer money; once the two devices are in range of each other, the transfer can be completed with virtually no security flaws. Similarly, if you have an NFC-enabled payment card and you walk up to an NFC-enabled Point-of-Sale (PoS) terminal, you’ll be able to make a transaction simply by being in range of the terminal. The only downside to NFC is that it has limited range and can only support interactions between devices that are very close to each other.
How Is Bitcoin Transactions Made Using NFC?
NFC can be used for larger transactions than just sending cryptocurrency between devices. If you have an NFC-enabled wallet on your phone and you want to send Bitcoin to another wallet, you can complete the transfer with a few simple button presses. To send Bitcoin to an external address, simply open the wallet that you wish to send the money to and then touch the address bar on your device to start editing it. Once you’ve entered the desired recipient’s address, you can touch the send button to initiate the transaction. While you’re at it, you can also choose to send the money to a different contact, edit the amount, or change the destination address if you make a mistake.
Once the transaction has been confirmed, you’ll receive a confirmation message on your phone. To ensure the security of your Bitcoin transactions, you can use a service such as BitGo, which allows users to create multiple wallets with a single login, create multiple transactions or send to multiple recipients at once, and more. With the Lightning Network, which is built on top of the Bitcoin protocol, users will be able to create a temporary network of trusted participants who will be able to exchange value with anyone on the network. This trustless and secure network of brokers will dramatically reduce the amount of trust required when sending money or making a purchase, as well as increase the speed and convenience at which people can complete transactions.
Is NFC Tricky To Maintain?
NFC is almost always a one-way street when it comes to sending data to another device; however, if you need to maintain access to sensitive information (such as credit card details), you’ll have to take the time out to re-authorise each device you interact with. This is usually a painless process, but it does eat into your productivity. If you’re worried about losing your access to sensitive information, there are other options available to you. You could keep your details in a more secure location – such as a hardware wallet – or use an online service to authenticate once a day. Some services will even send you an email or text message when someone tries to access your information from a new device.
What Happens If One Of The Devices Is Lost Or Stolen?
If a device with an NFC chip is lost or stolen, it won’t be easy to get the data off of it. In most cases, you’ll have to get an electronic equivalent of a spare key to unlock the device and retrieve all of the data. It’s worth bearing in mind that the data on the device can’t be deleted; instead, it’s stored inside an inaccessible folder on the device’s internal storage. While this might not seem like a major problem, you should still take the time to back up your important data before you lose access to it.
The security of your personal information is a major factor to consider when choosing a contactless payment method. While some might see bitcoin as an easy target for cybercriminals, the truth is that more and more people are choosing to use this decentralized currency because of its inherent security and privacy features. When the time comes for you to recover your device, you’ll be relieved to learn that the data isn’t completely gone. Instead, it’s been saved in the event that you become unable to access it yourself. This way you can recover at least some of your original data even if you don’t have the physical device anymore.
To keep things short, we’ve covered everything you need to know about NFC in this article. Just remember: while NFC is secure, it’s also inconvenient as all the data is stored in the device itself. If you don’t want to lose access to your important data, you’ll have to find a way to protect it. Otherwise, you could end up in a bit of a pickle if you ever lose one of these devices.