It’s a game we’re all too familiar with. Jumping from the couch to the table and back without touching the floor, since it is made of lava. It seems however, that the game has made its way into the adult world. A slightly different version with different intentions, but it involves not touching things just the same.

I’m talking about wireless. Wireless everything. The more wireless we can make it, the better. And we started this (meso)trend long ago. We moved from wired phones to wireless phones. We de-wired the internet. We are slowly getting rid of electrical wires. By connecting all our appliances to a hub in your house. A hub connected to the internet, which you then can access through an app on you smartphone.

And the latest and greatest we came up with. Wireless payments. Not that there were really any wires involved to begin with. But we got rid of them anyway. We already made a big step when we went from solely paper-money to plastic money. We made bank-accounts hold our money virtually, safe and out of sight. And when needed, just swipe a card and enter a pin.

But even that was too much effort for our increasingly busier and demanding lifestyles. Could it be done faster, more efficient? Yes it can! With the invention of NFC and RFID chipsets we can make objects communicate with each other. Just by being in each other’s proximity. Now making a payment it as easy as tapping your bankcard against the pin device and you’re done. For an even more streamlined experience any payment under € 25 doesn’t even require your pin.

And even the next phase in this trend is already here. More and more banks and smartphone software developers are working together on the next step. Paying by tapping your phone instead of your card. It may take some time before it will be used en masse but we’re getting there.

But for now, wireless payment is here to stay. From your local bakery to the major supermarkets. From the paying your subway ride to paying for a drink on a plane. From bankcards and credit cards to special tags and smartphones. It is one less thing we have to worry about.

Or do we? What about security, and privacy. Stories about how someone can just walk by you and steal money from you. With an scanning device in his/her bag coming just close enough to yours. And what about all the data on your phone. Is that still safe? Let me put it this way. Are we, in our rush to turn everything into lava, to make everything wireless, turning our whole world into lava? Will there be anything left to touch?

Biarne Vink // 2016


Newsroom Mastercard. 2012. New Mastercard advisors study on contactless payments. Retrieved September 13, 2016.

SecureID News. 2003. Freedompay makes waves in contactless payment. Retrieved September 13, 2016.

USA Today. 2001. McDonalds testing e-payment system. Retrieved September 13, 2016.

Paymentnews. 2008. First Fully Integrated Contactless payment system in UK. Retrieved September 12, 2016.

FinExtra. 2007. Barclaycard rolls out Oyster paments card. Retrieved September 12, 2016.

CCV. 2015. 100 miljoen contactloze betalingen. Retrieved September 13, 2016.

Know Your Mobile. 2016. Apple pay 100% backed by UK’s major banks. Retrieved September 13, 2016.

Barcleycard. 2016. Contactless has been caught on underground. Retrieved September 13, 2016.



2 thoughts on “THE FLOOR IS LAVA

  1. What an interesting way to compare wireless with lava. I agree with you that nowadays everything needs to be wireless. Think of the new Iphone 7 headphones. These are wireless too.

    There is a big need to turn everything that needs a wire, into a wireless device. It has a positive and negative side, just as you discussed in your article. If you look at the positive side, our lives get easier. We don’t need as much stuff and we are more free to move around (think of the wired phones we used to have). The negative side shows you the dangers of scammers, but also losing stuff more easy. We lose our mobile phones constantly. If we all where still using the wired phones, they would always lay on the same spot.

    To react to your question about still being safe, I think this has decreased a lot. This has all to do with our privacy. All our information, ID, bank accounts etc. are available on the Internet. A good hacker can get access to it. This is very alarming. But in a society where the need to consume so much and so fast, there is no better alternative then turning everything into ‘lava’. So I actually think that if we want to survive this consumer society, we need to keep up with the lava.

    -Lilian Casson 20-09-’16-


  2. Maela Verschuren – 22-09-2016

    Hi Biarne,

    Nice written article! I like the comparing with lava, it makes it easier to understand.
    I think there will be only more and more lava. Like you and Lilian already said: the wireless payments and no more struggling with knots because the wireless Iphone headphones. Everybody is very curious about the newest developments when it comes to wireless products.

    No more broken chargers because Ikea came up with the design for wireless phone charging furniture’s. Wireless printing, wireless mouse, wireless car charging. Life is getting easier of all the benefits from wireless products. Wouldn’t it be great when you don’t have to worry about a charger and you can charge your phone or tablet in the train?

    To answer your question: will we still be safe in the rush to turn everything into lava?
    I do think we will be safe, also in the future. We just have to be careful with all our wireless products and documents we send to each other because there are always bad people on the lurk, looking for your credit card. The only thing I am worried about is how the elderly people have to deal with it. My grandmother doesn’t want to lag with the new wireless payments and she is trying it out. But I think she is a great victim for scammers. However, I think it is a fine new technology to fasten processes and makes life easier but like all mothers have learned their kids: you always have to be careful! So, bring on the lava!


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