In the Future, Your Veins Could Replace Your Passwords


Forget having to remember passwords for all of your favorite websites and apps. In the future, PayPal wants the very veins in your body to act as your password.

No, that’s not a typo. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, PayPal’s global head of developer evangelism, Jonathan Leblanc, says that traditional “external” methods of identifying people, such as passwords and even fingerprints, could eventually give way to things like vein and heartbeat recognition.

Basically, the patterns the veins make in your body and your exact heartbeat could be used to do things like make wireless payments or even log in to websites.

How does PayPal expect this to work? By having people embed special chips under your skin that can, “contain ECG sensors that monitor the heart’s unique electrical activity and communicate the data via wireless antennae to ‘wearable computer tattoos.’”

That’s not all, though. Leblanc also told the Journal that people could eventually be able to eat special sensors that identify you based on your glucose levels. What would power these internal sensors? Why, your own stomach acid, of course.

Why is this necessary? Because, as Leblanc points out, the current methods of user identification are simply too unreliable.

People forget their passwords or use passwords that are too simple to crack, while fingerprints and things like location verification can lead to false positives that let hackers get into your accounts.

This isn’t the first time the idea of putting passwords inside our bodies has been brought up. Motorola previously discussed using an electronic tattoo on your skin to identify users, as well as an edible “vitamin” that you would swallow and could then communicate with other gadgets.

And according to Forbes, the vitamin has already been approved by the FDA.

If this all sounds super sci-fi and a bit crazy, Leblanc completely understands. As he explained in the interview, it’ll be quite a while before people are actually comfortable with using any of these technologies.

And though PayPal is interested in them, the company isn’t saying it would use edible or injectable security methods in the future. It just wants to explore the possibilities.

The only problem I can see with this is that it will make binge-purchasing old Star Wars action figures at 3:00 in the morning way too easy. But that’s something we’ll all have to deal with eventually. Right?

Email Daniel Howley at; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley or on Google+.