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drinks with wave of the hand
Club-goers in Spain get implanted chips
for ID, payment purposes
By Sherrie Gossett; April 14, 2004
Being recognized has never been
easier for VIP patrons of the Baja Beach Club in Barcelona, Spain.
Like a scene out of a science-fiction movie, all it takes is a syringe-injected
microchip implant for the beautiful men and women of the nightclub scene to
breeze past a "reader" that recognizes their identity, credit balance and even
automatically opens doors to exclusive areas of the club for them.
They can buy drinks and food with a wave of their hand and don't need to worry
about losing a credit card or wallet.
"By simply passing by our
reader, the Baja Beach Club will know who you are and what your credit balance
is," Conrad K. Chase explains. Chase is director of the Baja Beach Club in
"From the moment of their implantation they will also have
free entry and access to the VIP area," he said.
In the popular club,
which boasts a dance floor that can accommodate 3,000, streamlined services and
convenience matter to Chase's VIP customers.
Baja Beach Clubs
International is the first firm to employ the "Veripay System," developed by
Applied Digital's VeriChip Corporation and announced at an international
conference in Paris last year. The company touts this application of the chip
implant as an advance over credit cards and smart cards, which, absent
biometrics and appropriate safeguard technologies, are subject to theft
resulting in identity fraud.
Palm Beach-based Applied Digital
Solutions (NASDAQ: ADSXD) unveiled the original VeriChip immediately after the
9-11 tragedy. Similar to pet identification chips, the VeriChip is a
syringe-injectable radio frequency identification microchip that can be read
from a few feet away by either a hand-held scanner or by the implantee walking
through a "portal" scanner. Information can be wirelessly written to the chip,
which contains a unique 10-digit identification number.
on the novelty factor of the chip implant, driving it to worldwide headlines in
Last year, Art Kranzley, senior vice president at MasterCard,
speculated on possible future electronic payment media: "We're certainly looking
at designs like key fobs. It could be in a pen or a pair of earrings.
Ultimately, it could be embedded in anything someday, maybe even under the
Chase calls the chip implant the wave of the future.
The nightclub director has been implanted along with stars from the Spanish
version of the TV show "Big Brother."
"I know many people who want to
be implanted," he said. "Actually, almost everybody has piercings, tattoos or
Will the implant only be of use at the Baja?
objective of this technology is to bring an ID system to a global level that
will destroy the need to carry ID documents and credit cards," Chase
During a recent American radio interview, Chase said the CEO of
VeriChip, Dr. Keith Bolton, had told him that the company's goal was to market
the VeriChip as a global implantable identification system.
900 people implanted worldwide, though, the global mandate isn't exactly around
the corner, and current applications are extremely limited.
added, "The VeriChip that we implant at Baja will not only be for the Baja, but
is also useful for whatever other enterprise that makes use of this
He also alluded to plans for FN Herstal, which
manufactures Browning and Smith and Wesson firearms, to develop an
implant-firearm system that would make a firearm functional only to the
individual implanted with its corresponding microchip. A scanner in the gun
would be designed to recognize the owner.
Chase's mention of the FN
Herstal-Verichip partnership came a full week before it's formal announcement by
Applied Digital yesterday.
Chase believes all gun owners should be
required to have a microchip implanted in their hand to be able to own a gun.
While yesterday's Associated Press story on the prototype is primarily from the
angle of police usage, WND reported two years ago that from the he outset of the
company's acquisition of its "Digital Angel" implant patent - said to be GPS
trackable - Applied touted the implant as a potential universal method of gun
Chase also claimed that the VeriChip company had told him
that the Italian government was preparing to implant government
"We are the only company today offering human implantable ID
technology," said Scott R. Silverman, chairman and chief executive officer of
Applied Digital Solutions. "We believe the market opportunity for this
technology is substantial, and high-profile successes such as in Spain will
serve as catalysts for broader adoption."
Since 1999, the Applied
Digital Solutions has boasted that it also has a GPS-trackable chip in the
works, but four years later the device has yet to come to market. Some
mechanical engineers contend such a device requires substantial antenna length
and that creating a self-contained unit in the space of a tiny chip is virtually
impossible. In addition, questions of accuracy of new GPS consumer items have
been raised by the press. A previous Wall Street Journal "road test" of
different manufacturers' GPS watches and devices for children had some kids
tracked to the Sahara Desert, rather than New York City where they
Despite the kinks that may need to be worked out, security of
loved ones and personal property remains one of the chief marketing focuses of
personal GPS devices and RFID chip firms.
Meanwhile, in Barcelona the
VeriChip is gaining a following of enthusiastic "early adopters. "
"Everyone embraced the electronic payment application," Chase said. "My
customers like the fact that they do not have to carry a credit card or ID card
with them. With the VeriPay system, they no longer have to worry about their
credit cards getting lost or stolen."