Smart card wallet

This pages gathers resources for the implementation of a Bitcoin wallet on a smart card.



  • Computers and smartphones are target for malware. The software on a smart card can be protected.
  • Smart cards do not need a battery, nor internet connection, they are robust.
  • Adoption: people are already used to paying with smart cards.

Desired features

  • no blockchain, no node; the card contains only private keys, and an algorithm to sign a transaction
  • the smart card should have its own keyboard (for pin code protection) and display (to show the transaction amount)

(<- Alternative to this is the card returning, to the terminal screen, the debit amount multiplied by a number only the card holder knows which cycles from 1 to 100 to 1 incrementing by 1 each transfer – the card is locked 10 minutes if a second amount is send before a pin is typed.)

  • The card holder will know pin, puk, private key and address only from when he programmed it or ordered his smart card.
  • the card should implement a deterministic wallet, so that funds can be recovered if the card is lost.

Usage scenario

  • the reading device may belong to a merchant at a point of sale; it cannot be trusted with private keys.
  • the reading device is connected to a full bitcoin node; it can be trusted for getting and sending blockchain information.
  • the reading device sends to the card the current balance of its bitcoin addresses. This information can be cached in the card.
  • the reading device sends a bitcoin receiving address and transaction amount to the card.
  • the amount is displayed by the card ; the user confirms the transaction with his pin code.
  • the smart card creates a signed transaction and sends it to the reading device
  • the transaction is checked and broadcast by the bitcoin node.

Implementation steps

1. write a bitcoin daemon that can talk to a lightweight wallet

2. write a lightweight wallet

  • wallet without blockchain, in order to test the daemon
  • this lightweight wallet will be later implemented on the card
  • use it to define the communication protocol between card and reading device.

update: this is done, see Electrum

3. implement wallet on a simple smart card

4. implement wallet on a smart card with display and pincode

list of vendors:



See Also on BitcoinWiki