The Japanese tech conglomerate this week announced that its Computer Science Laboratories division (Sony CSL) had developed a cryptocurrency hardware wallet that could be used to store bitcoin and other digital assets in a secure offline environment while retaining the convenience of less-secure online crypto storage systems.
The advantages, according to developers from Sony Computer Science Labs (SCSL), lie in dispensing with the need to attach the wallet to a host device via USB, as is the current standard for the industry.
“In addition, it is possible to securely generate and store a private key with a highly reliable tamper-proof module within the IC card,” the release explains.
Sony has joined many multinationals in experimenting with blockchain technology in recent years, releasing several solutions and applying for patents related to blockchain hardware.
“This IC card type hardware wallet is small, portable and useful, unlike typical existing hardware wallets that connect to PCs via USB. In addition, it is possible to securely generate and store a private key with a highly reliable tamper-proof module within the IC card.”
The release further noted that this type of wallet card would have “multiple possible applications,” including allowing a user to sign a blockchain transaction authorizing the use of their personal information.
Perhaps most notably, Sony’s development of cryptocurrency tech does not appear to be a mere research project, or, as is often the case, an instance of a company seeking to position itself as an innovator in cutting-edge technology, even though it has no plans to convert its research into real-world products and applications.
Earlier this year, Sony applied to patent a system that uses blockchain technology for digital rights management (DRM). Just this month, the company unveiled the production version of that system, which will build on Sony Global Education’s already-existent DRM platform for sharing educational data.
In March of this year, Japanese financial services group SBI Holdings bought 40 percent of Taiwanese cryptocurrency hardware wallet company CoolBitX. Leading security-focused hardware wallet supplier Ledger noted in July that it had sold more than one million wallets in 2017, earning a profit of $29 million.