A new secure mobile payment solution for Android will be showcased at the Mobile World Congress, March 2 – 5 in Barcelona, Spain. The new payment app developed by Rivetz and other partners – an Android alternative to Apple Pay with Bitcoin support – will be available in the second quarter of 2015 and is compatible with over 350 million existing Android devices, including Samsung smartphones. Demonstrations on a Samsung Galaxy 4 smartphone will be held daily at the Samsung partner booth (Hall 8.1), Trustonic booth (Hall 7, Stand 7G81), and at the Intercede booth (Hall 7, Stand 7B81).
“We are very pleased to be combining trusted computing technology with the innovations in Bitcoin and blockchain technology to offer consumers the most secure bitcoin payments,” Rivetz CEO Steven Sprague told Bitcoin Magazine. “For consumers, the killer app is having money on the phone, and for the merchants, the built-in security of the system will make it easier to persuade them to accept bitcoin.
“Rivetz developed this application over the last year, integrating the contributions of the partners and using the Trustonic Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) as an operating system for the application. Our solution reflects the latest specifications for mobile payment technology by Global Platform and Trusted Computing Group,” he said.
With Apple Pay, announced at the iPhone 6 launch event last September, Apple wants to grab a big slice of the exploding – and potentially very profitable – mobile payments market. Apple Pay is compatible with a wide range of point-of-sale payment solutions used by merchants, including the terminals provided by the major credit card companies, but requires an Apple device (iPad, iPhone 5 or higher) on the consumer side. That is an important limit since only 12 percent of smartphones in use are made by Apple, and most are older iPhones that don’t support Apple Pay.
Google is not watching idly – it recently acquired Softcard technology to power its payment solution Google Wallet — and established agreements with Verizon, ATT and T-Mobile to pre-install Google Wallet on the smartphones sold by the carriers. Google Wallet is available for Android smartphones, which have an 85 percent market share. (Note, however, that not all Android devices support Google Wallet at this time.)
Besides smartphones, both Apple Pay and Google Wallet will also run on next-generation smart personal devices, such as connected watches, which will add to their appeal and ease of use. But Apple Pay and Google Wallet don’t support Bitcoin, which is an important limitation for the fast-growing community of Bitcoin users, consumers and merchants alike. The new Android payment solution, developed by Rivetz, Trustonic, Intercede and Bitcoin payment processors Coinapult and BitPay, supports bitcoin payments and can be integrated with bitcoin wallets.
“Rivetz is delivering state-of-the-art support that will help Bitcoin [become] a standard, secure capability on every handset,” said Tony Gallippi, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of BitPay. “We look forward to enabling the Rivetz capability as an option for millions of Bitcoin users.”
The new open-source payments technology is easy to use and compatible with any Trustonic-enabled smart device. The solution is compatible with many thousands of Bitcoin merchants, offering consumers peace of mind that their Bitcoin transactions are safe, private and secure. Furthermore, the new solution meets all of the requirements of the recently implemented regulations for European payments using smart devices, which opens the way for deployment in Europe.
The new solution developed by Rivetz uses Trustonic’s Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) built into millions of smart devices to store and process Bitcoin private keys, and Trusted User Interface (TUI) technology for secure PIN entry and secure display of the users’ transaction details. Rivetz provides a software developer toolkit for secure TEE-enabled Bitcoin payment apps.
“We are pleased to be working with Rivetz to bring state-of-the-art security and ease of use to consumers,” said Trustonic CEO Ben Cade. “The Rivetz team is offering a great model for any app developer to leverage the advanced security that Trustonic TEE provides.”
Intercede’s MyTAM cloud service is used to protect the user’s bitcoin wallet and data from malware and any threats that may be present on the handset.
“Apps used for executing Bitcoin transactions are an attractive target for hackers, who are developing increasingly advanced methods to deploy their malware onto Android handsets,” said Intercede CEO Richard Parris. “By ensuring the activities of apps are kept separate and secure from the main OS, end users can be assured their Bitcoin transactions are protected.”
This development is important for the Bitcoin ecosystem, because it integrates bitcoin payments in a comprehensive, secure mobile payment solution that is technically as advanced – or more advanced – than competitors Apple Pay and Google Wallet, supported by leading smartphone manufacturers, and fully compliant with applicable regulations. It will facilitate Bitcoin adoption among consumers and merchants, reduce regulatory obstacles and bring Bitcoin closer to mainstream.
Giulio Prisco is a writer specialized in science, technology and business. He is persuaded that Bitcoin and its underlying technology are about to bring disruptive positive changes to finance, business, and society.