The research arm of Japanese technology giant Sony announced it had created a contactless cryptocurrency hardware wallet in a press release Tuesday, Oct. 23.

The as yet unnamed device utilizes IC smart card technology popular in Japan to communicate with the Bitcoin (BTC) or other cryptocurrency network.

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.

Beyond sending and receiving cryptocurrency, the latest hardware wallet offering is designed to include multi-purpose uses, the company claims.

“This IC card-type cryptocurrency hardware wallet technology not only manages the private keys used for cryptocurrency transactions, but also manages private keys used for other purposes, such as those for permitting the use of personal information using blockchain technology,” Sony continued in the release, adding:

“It is an infrastructure technology with multiple possible applications.”

It is not known when or if a mass rollout of the product will be scheduled.

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.

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