‘Dark Wallet’ Is About to Make Bitcoin Money Laundering Easier Than Ever

From left, Cody Wilson and Amir Taaki. Photo: Andy Greenberg
From left, Cody Wilson and Amir Taaki. Photo: Andy Greenberg

Government regulators around the world have spent the last year scrambling to prevent bitcoin from becoming the currency of choice for money launderers and black marketeers. Now their worst fears may be about to materialize in a single piece of software.

On Thursday, a collective of politically radical coders that calls itself unSystem plans to release the first version of Dark Wallet: a bitcoin application designed to protect its users’ identities far more strongly than the partial privacy protections bitcoin offers in its current form.

If the program works as promised, it could neuter impending bitcoin regulations that seek to tie individuals’ identities to bitcoin ownership. By encrypting and mixing together its users’ payments, Dark Wallet seeks to enable practically untraceable flows of money online that add new fuel to the Web’s burgeoning black markets.

“This is a way of using bitcoin that mocks every attempt to sprinkle it with regulation,” says Cody Wilson, one of Dark Wallet’s two 26-year-old organizers. “It’s a way to say to the government ‘You’ve set yourself up to regulate bitcoin. Regulate this.’”

Dark Wallet was conceived last summer by Wilson and Amir Taaki. Wilson first gained notoriety by creating the world’s first entirely 3D-printed gun; Taaki is an Iranian-British free-market anarchist and developer of high-profile bitcoin projects like the decentralized online marketplace prototype DarkMarket. Together they launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in October that raised $50,000, along with tens of thousands more in bitcoin. The accompanying video promised what Wilson described as “a line in the sand” in the struggle over bitcoin’s political future. At a debate at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in March, Wilson described his intentions for Dark Wallet more directly: “It’s just money laundering software.”

Despite those provocations, financial regulators have kept mum about the project. The New York Department of Financial Services, which held hearings about bitcoin in January and says it plans to create a “bitlicense” for some bitcoin-based businesses, didn’t respond to a request for comment. In a statement to WIRED, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network wrote only that it’s “well aware of the many emerging technological efforts designed to subvert financial transparency. It’s certainly our business to be interested and vigilant with respect to any activities that may assist money laundering and other financial crimes.”

Wilson’s and Taaki’s money-laundering app is politically incendiary, but it’s not necessarily illegal, and they argue that the code is protected by First Amendment safeguards on free speech. But Wilson states plainly that he intends Dark Wallet to be used for anonymous online black markets like the Silk Road, the bitcoin-based drug bazaar seized by the FBI in October.

 

“I want a private means for black market transactions,” says Wilson, “whether they’re for non-prescribed medical inhalers, MDMA for drug enthusiasts, or weapons.”

Nor does he deny that Dark Wallet might enable heinous crimes like child pornography, murder-for-hire, and terrorism. “Well, yes, bad things are going to happen on these marketplaces,” Wilson says.

“Liberty is a dangerous thing.”

But as dangerous as Wilson’s vision may be, Dark Wallet also fills a real need for privacy in the bitcoin economy. Despite its reputation as an anonymous currency, bitcoin transactions are in some ways nakedly public–even more so than those made with traditional money.Every bitcoin payment is recorded in the public ledger known as the blockchain, copied to thousands of users’ computers and checked to prevent forgery and fraud in the Bitcoin network. If bitcoiners don’t take special pains to anonymize their coins, all of their spending can potentially be traced back to their bitcoin addresses by any corporation or government agency that cares to look.

A screenshot from Dark Wallet's interface showing its CoinJoin function. (Click to enlarge.)

Dark Wallet avoids those privacy and trust problems by integrating laundering by default into every payment its users make. Its central tool is a technique called CoinJoin:

Every time a user spends bitcoins, his or her transaction is combined with that of another user chosen at random who’s making a payment around the same time. If, say, Alice is buying alpaca socks from an online sock seller and Bob is buying LSD on the Silk Road, Dark Wallet will combine their transactions so that the blockchain records only a single movement of funds.

The bitcoins simultaneously leave Alice’s and Bob’s addresses and are paid to the sock seller and the Silk Road. The negotiation of that multi-party transaction is encrypted, so no eavesdropper on the network can easily determine whose coins went where. To mix their coins further, users can also run CoinJoin on their bitcoins when they’re not making a real payment, instead sending them to another address they own.

One bitcoin privacy issue CoinJoin solves relates to what are known as “change addresses.” When bitcoins from any single address are spent, the unspent fraction of coins are sent back to a change address that the spender controls.

Future transactions from that change address can be tied to the same user. But with each successive CoinJoin transaction, the coins are mixed with another new user’s payment, and the likelihood of guessing which change address belongs to which user is cut in half again. “When you start to join transactions, it muddles them,” says Taaki. “As you start to go down the chain, you can only be 50 percent sure the coins belong to any one person, then 25 percent, then one out of eight and then one out of sixteen. The conditional probability drops very fast.”

Dark Wallet's stealth address function. (Click to enlarge.)

To protect the identity of the user receiving coins instead of spending them, Dark Wallet offers a different technique known as a stealth address. Any user can ask Dark Wallet to generate a stealth address along with a secret key and then publish the stealth address online as his or her bitcoin receiving address. When another Dark Wallet user sends payment to that address, Dark Wallet is programmed to instead send the coins to another address that represents a random encryption of the stealth address.

The recipient’s Dark Wallet client then scans the blockchain for any address it can decrypt with the user’s secret key, finds the stealth payment, and claims it for the user. “The important thing is that when someone pastes your stealth address into [blockchain search tool] blockchain.info, absolutely nothing shows up,” says Peter Todd, a bitcoin consultant who advised Dark Wallet on the stealth address feature. “The payment is entirely hidden.”

Dark Wallet’s developers admit it’s still at an early stage, and that, like any cryptography project, it will only prove itself and patch its bugs over time. Taaki says, for instance, that the software will eventually combine more than two users’ payments in every CoinJoin transaction, and also integrate the anonymity software Tor to better protect users’ IP addresses.

In its current form, Taaki says Dark Wallet protects IPs only by obscuring them behind the server that negotiates CoinJoin transactions, which may still leave users vulnerable to identification by sophisticated traffic analysis. “It’s not foolproof, but it’s a strong tool,” says Taaki. “And it’s going to get better.”

In the meantime, the group isn’t shying from a confrontation with regulators. Even its name is chosen specifically to reference the FBI’s repeated warnings about the Internet “going dark“–that encryption tools could effectively turn off law enforcement’s ability to surveil criminal and terrorist suspects online.

“Dark Wallet is a way to reify that nightmare and give it back to them,” says Wilson. “There is a ‘go dark’ problem, and we’re going to have it with bitcoin. That’s what bitcoin is for. That’s what we want to see.”

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Map Lab 400 Years of Beautiful, Historical, and Powerful Globes

1 / 11This ridiculously awesome moon globe was made by the artist John Russell in 1797. Its various cogs and knobs “contrived to give it such motions as will exhibit all the appearances which the face of the moon puts on to the inhabitants of the earth,” Russell wrote.

To look at an ancient globe is to look at the Earth as it was seen by the people of another time. It reflects their understanding of the continents and seas, and it captures political divisions that have long since shifted. Even the typography and colors of a globe are indicative of the time and place of its origin, says Sylvia Sumira, a London-based conservator of ancient globes.

2 / 11John Russell’s lunar globe from another angle. Made in 1797 it’s the oldest surviving printed globe of the moon.

Often, it’s a thing of remarkable craftsmanship and beauty.“If you go into a room and there’s a globe, your attention is immediately drawn to it,” Sumira said. In her lavishly illustrated new bookGlobes: 400 years of exploration, navigation, and power,Sumira traces the history and making of globes and showcases dozens of fine examples drawn largely from the collection of the British Library.

This pocket globe is just three inches in diameter. It was made in 1793 by Scotsman John Miller.

Contrary to the popular misconception that nobody knew the Earth was round before Columbus, the ancient Greeks described the making of globes (in verse, no less) in the third century B.C. The oldest surviving globe dates back to 150 A.D. But they really took off between about 1500 and 1900, and it’s this period that’s the focus of Globes.

This is the oldest surviving terrestrial globe made in China. It dates to 1623. Unlike other Chinese maps of the time, which showed China at the center and left the rest of the world blank, this globe shows the world as it was understood in Europe at the time.

There are records of globes being brought on ships during the age of exploration, but they probably weren’t used for navigation, Sumira says. For one thing, any globe that’s small enough to be brought onboard would have to be scaled down to the point of being useless for charting a course on the high seas.

These gores, the printed sheets that cover a globe, date to around 1700. They were published in an atlas by Vincenzo Coronelli, a enterprising Venetian cartographer who realized that books were easier to transport — and therefore easer to sell — than globes.

“They’re more a symbol of navigation than a tool for navigation,” she said. In the book, she writes that in the 17th century, globes were sold as “handsome objects of status and prestige to a comfortable merchant class.”

This celestial globe was made in the early 1600s by famed Dutch cartographer Willem Blaeu.

Not that ancient globes don’t convey some useful information. Much of it is contained in the horizon ring that surrounds many of them. Concentric circles printed or engraved on the ring indicate the degrees of the compass, the months of the year, zodiac signs, and sometimes information about winds. They can be used, for example, to determine the sunrise and sunset on a given day of the year, Sumira says.

This 1772 celestial globe spurns the traditional mythical beasts to pay homage to the hottest tech trends. Here you can see call outs to the constellations Microscopium and Telescopium. Not visible in this view: Air Pump.

“Most of the globes were like little calculating machines.”

Several globes in the book come in pairs: one terrestrial, one celestial.

“The constellations were very much used for navigational purposes,”

This pocket globe, from around 1715, is less than three inches across. The inside of the leather case is lined with a celestial map. The terrestrial globe opens up to reveal a hollow armillary sphere with a ring depicting the zodiac signs and a tiny Sun at its center.

Sumira says, so being able to study pairs like this would have been very instructive for mariners in training. The celestial globes sometimes look like someone let the animals out of the zoo: the stars that make up a constellation are overlaid on the figure that gives it its name — a lion for Leo, a big bear for Ursa Major and so on.

This tiny pocket globe made in 1831 is just 1.5 inches in diameter. Dotted lines trace voyages by Captain Cook and other explorers.

Getting your bearings with the celestial globes is a little tricky. It helps if you pretend you’re God, looking down at the heavens from on high. The earth would be a dot inside the center of the globe. From this view, the constellations are mirror images of how they appear from Earth.

Another beautiful pocket globe, this one from 1731.

Among Sumira’s favorites are the pocket globes. “They’re just delightful little things,” she said. The smallest is just 1.5 inches in diameter. Many come in a wood or leather case that opens up to reveal a terrestrial globe that can be taken out. The concave surface of the case often contains a matching celestial globe.

This “dissected globe” dates to around 1866. At the time such items were a popular toy for children, which may explain why so few survive with all of their pieces intact.

Hackers Can Mess With Traffic Lights to Jam Roads and Reroute Cars

Photo: Getty Images

The hacker in the Italian Job did it spectacularly. So did the fire sale team in Live Free or Die Hard. But can hackers really hijack traffic lights to cause gridlock and redirect cars?

According to one researcher, parts of the vehicle traffic control system installed at major arteries in U.S. cities and the nation’s capital are so poorly secured they can be manipulated to snarl traffic or force cars onto different streets.

The hack doesn’t target the traffic lights directly but rather sensors embedded in streets that feed data to traffic control systems, says Cesar Cerrudo, an Argentinian security researcher with IoActive who examined the systems and plans to present his findings at the upcoming Infiltrate conference in Florida.

The vulnerable controllers–Sensys Networks VDS240 wireless vehicle detection systems–are installed in 40 U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, DC, as well as in 9 other countries.

The system is comprised of magnetic sensors embedded in roadways that wirelessly feed data about traffic flow to nearby access points and repeaters, which in turn pass the information to traffic signal controllers.

“By sniffing 802.15.4 wireless traffic on channels used by Sensys Networks devices,” Cerrudo wrote in an advisory he sent to the Department of Homeland Security’s ICS-CERT division last year, “it was found that all communication is performed in clear text without any encryption nor security mechanism. Sensor identification information (sensorid), commands, etc. could be observed being transmitted in clear text.

Because of this, wireless communications to and from devices can be monitored and initiated by attackers, allowing them to send arbitrary commands, data and manipulating the devices.”Although an attacker can’t control traffic signals directly through the sensors, he might be able to trick control systems into thinking that congested roadways are clear or that open roadways are packed with cars, causing traffic signals to respond accordingly, says Cerrudo.

Sensys Networks’ vice president of engineering, Brian Fuller, told WIRED that the DHS was “happy with the system,” and that he had nothing more to add on the matter.

Cerrudo conducted field tests of Sensys sensors in Seattle, New York, and Washington, DC, to prove that he could easily intercept the unencrypted data. He says it would not be difficult for someone to reverse-engineer the Sensys NanoPower Protocol to design an attack after studying the data.

Cesar Cerrudo in downtown New York City, conducting a field test of vulnerable traffic sensors. Photo: Courtesy of Cesar Cerrudo
Cesar Cerrudo in downtown New York City, conducting a field test of vulnerable traffic sensors. Photo: Courtesy of Cesar Cerrudo

Because the sensors’ firmware is also not digitally signed and access to them is not restricted to authorized parties, an attacker can alter the firmware or modify the configuration of the sensors. An attacker who just wanted to cause trouble, for example, could reconfigure the embedded street sensors to communicate on different radio channels than the access points, effectively severing the wireless link between them. Cerrudo says it would be very difficult to detect a compromised sensor.

Though hackers would need to be physically near the sensors to pull off the feat, a simple wireless transmitter the size of a USB stick is sufficient to intercept data from 150 feet away. That range could be extended to 1,500 feet using a powerful antenna, making it possible for someone to alter the data from a nearby rooftop or even from a drone flying overhead.

Cerruda tested the latter using a drone to send fake data to a Sensys access point he owns. He was able to send the data from more than 600 feet in the air, but with a stronger antenna he believes he could do it from a mile or more as long as he had line of sight to the access point.

Markings in road showing location of embedded traffic sensors. Photo: Courtesy of Cesar Cerrudo
Markings in road showing location of embedded traffic sensors. Photo: Courtesy of Cesar Cerrudo

Markings in road showing location of embedded traffic sensors. Photo: Courtesy of Cesar Cerrudo

While Cerruda acknowledges that the systems may have manual overrides and secondary controls that could be used to mitigate problems, an attacker could nevertheless create traffic jams and other problems — causing lights to remain red longer than they should or allowing cars at metering lights to enter freeways and bridges faster or slower than optimal — before anyone would notice and respond to the problem.

“These traffic problems could cause real accidents, even deadly ones by cars crashing or by blocking ambulances, fire fighters, or police cars going for an emergency call,” he writes in a blog post.

Sensys Networks has installed its systems in 40 states, according to company documents, and has more than 50,000 sensors operating in 10 countries–including the United Kingdom, China, Canada, Australia, and France. In addition to detecting the presence of traffic at intersections and highway on-ramps, the sensors can be configured to count vehicles, track the movement of vehicles by detecting the same vehicle at different points, or be placed in idle mode to not detect anything at all.

Under a contract with Washington, DC, the company has embedded more than 1,300 wireless sensors in the capital’s streets to collect data on traffic speed, vehicle count, and occupancy to “optimize real-time congestion management and emergency response,” according to a company video. In a city where motorcades carrying the President and visiting dignitaries are commonplace, the company says its systems have relieved congestion and greatly improved incident response management and motorcade diversions (.pdf).

The wireless sensors run on batteries that can last more than a decade and are being installed by cities to replace old-school inductive loops embedded in roadways as well as video-detection systems that are still used on many roadways to track traffic.

Hacking the system requires a few specialized tools. Cerrudo purchased an access point from Sensys Networks — at a cost of about $4,000 — which he placed in a backpack or on his car dashboard to intercept data from sensors in Seattle, New York, and Washington, DC.

The access point he purchased is compatible with all of the company’s street sensors worldwide, and is used with a free Windows-based software that the company makes available on its web site. The software allowed him to view the data in an easy-to-read format on his laptop.

Generally, the access points aren’t available to the public and are sold only to city governments, but Cerrudo talked his way into purchasing one by telling the vendor he needed a unit to test on behalf of one of his customers. Although he’s based in Argentina, he had it shipped to an address in Puerto Rico.

A hacker wouldn’t necessarily need an access point to intercept data, however, but could simply intercept it using a wireless transceiver. The data, however, would need to be analyzed, to understand the protocol, and parsed for reading.

“Without the access point and software, you can sniff the wireless data, but it will be difficult to understand what everything means,” he says. “You need the access point to learn how the system works, but after you learn, then you don’t need anymore the access point because you can build your own device.

With knowledge of the protocol, an attacker can “watch” the communication between the sensors and access points, which includes configuration information about the sensors themselves and the unique ID for each sensor. An attacker can use this information to target specific sensors.

Sensy Networks access point (at left), which Cerrudo purchased from the company, and a traffic sensor (at right) which gets embedded in roadways. Photo: Courtesy of Cesar Cerrudo

Although the security problems with the sensors could be easily resolved by encrypting the data in transit and preventing unauthorized users from altering the configuration or firmware, Cerrudo says the company has been unresponsive to the issues.

Silk Road successor DarkMarket rebrands as OpenBazaar

openbazaar
The online drugs marketplace has changed its name to improve its image but says its aim is to challenge the status quo
DarkMarket, a system aiming to create a decentralized alternative to online drugs marketplace Silk Road, has rebranded as “OpenBazaar” to improve its image online. 

OpenBazaar exists as little more than a proof of concept: the plan was sketched out by a group of hackers in Toronto in mid April, where they won the $20,000 first prize for their idea.

At its core, OpenBazaar – and DarkMarket before it – allows any user of the software to connect with any other user, and initiate a transaction. A third OpenBazaar user, trusted by both buyer and seller, is brought in to act as an arbiter: they have the power to release the buyer’s funds (paid in bitcoin, naturally) to the seller once the transaction is completed.

Feedback is left as a cryptographically signed comment distributed throughout the network, while users’ identities are tied to their bitcoin keys, preventing anyone from impersonating another user.

The idea has obvious potential for creating a replacement to the Silk Road, the online marketplace used primarily to buy and sell drugs that was shut down by the FBI in October 2013. Without a centralized headquarters, the authorities would have no choice but to track down every single OpenBazaar user individually; and it would be all but impossible to shut down the network entirely.

Developed by Amir Taaki, a veteran of the bitcoin community who is currently hard at work on a wallet app that will let users spend the cryptocurrency completely anonymously, and Damian Cutillo and William Swanson, who are building a Bitcoin startup called Airbitz, DarkMarket was released as open-source software once the hackathon was finished.

None of its original creators want to work on it any more, with their own projects taking up the majority of their time, and so it is left to the community to continue the coding. But the first change the community made was to give the code a new name: from DarkMarket to OpenBazaar.

Redditors had previously started a petition calling on the team to change the name from Dark Market to “Free Market”. “We know that this project will get press coverage, and eventually reach major media outlets,” reads the petitioner omgitsmiley’s explanation.

“By calling this important invention the Dark Market I’m afraid Amir et al are playing into the system’s hands. If the name of the exchange is changed to Free Market, imagine the implications. News anchors will have to say on TV, ‘Officials are looking into banning the free market.’”

Taaki’s initial response was to refuse. “People need to stop being afraid and reclaim these words of power used to control us. The Dark name evokes great imagery and sounds cool. It’s like when they used to call us pirates to shame us and the pirate party stood up and said, ‘Yeah! we are pirates!’ There were many internet freedom parties before and they got nowhere.

“Our team is not here to fit in nicely with the status quo. We are here to challenge it.”

This pocket-sized molecular spectrometer tells you the chemical makeup of foods

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 11.08.33 AM

Tel Aviv-based startup Consumer Physics pulled the curtain back today on its first product: a tiny hand-held molecular sensor called Scio. The device, which Consumer Physics has launched a Kickstarter project for, would allow users to scan practically anything –foods, drinks, pills, plants, and more– and get detailed information on the object’s chemical makeup in just a few seconds.

It might sound like science fiction, but it’s actually built around an age-old method of materials analysis known as near-infrared spectroscopy. Basically, this process involves shining a near-infrared light onto the surface of a given material, which causes the molecules to vibrate and bounce back light in their own unique way. This reflected light is then collected and passed through a spectrometer (think of it like a prism) that separates the light out into all the different wavelengths it contains. By analyzing the unique optical signature of the scanned material, it’s possible to determine what it’s made out of.

Near IR-spectroscopy has been used by scientists for decades, but up until Scio, spectrometers were very large, and prohibitively expensive. To bring the technology out of the lab
and into the hands of consumers,

Consumer Physics has spent the past few years shrinking the technology down and making it easier to use. In addition to the tiny, keychain-sized scanner, the company also designed an accompanying smartphone app to help you make sense of the readings it takes.

To deliver scan analysis information in real time, Scio communicates the spectrum to your smartphone app via Bluetooth, which it then forwards to a cloud-based service. From there, advanced algorithms analyze the spectrum, and delivers information regarding the analyzed sample back to your smartphone within seconds.

It’s not just limited to food and drinks either. Technically, Scio can be used to determine the molecular makeup of anything except metals, so it has an extremely broad range of potential applications. Need to determine the CO2 content of your home-brewed beer? Want to know the ripeness of an avocado at the grocery store? Want to check to make sure the drink you left sitting at the bar hasn’t been tampered with? Scio could make that happen. Consumer Physics is even releasing a software development kit, so third-party developers will be able to create their own applications for the device.

Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time a device like this has hit the crowd-funding scene. You might remember a similar device called TellSpec from Indiegogo late last year.

Both devices rely on molecular spectroscopy to scan foods — the difference is that Scio is actually past the R&D stage. Consumer Physics has already developed multiple working prototypes, and will supposedly be ready to ship to early backers as soon as December of this year.

If you’re quick enough, you can lock down a developer kit right now for the early-bird price of $150, or pre-order the finished consumer version for $199. Head over to Kickstarter for more info.

Niwa simplifies Hydroponics with your smartphone

Niwa hydroponic gardening

Ideally, we’d all be able to grow our own produce and have fresh food whenever we want it, but the unfortunate truth is that if you live in an urban area and don’t have your own patch of soil, cultivating a garden is easier said than done. Sure, you could always grow stuff in pots inside your house, but if you’ve got a limited amount of square footage to work with in your pad, growing more than a couple sprigs of lemongrass is pretty tough.

Niwa hydroponic gardening

Niwa, an upcoming product from a UK startup of the same name, seeks to solve this problem — not only by bringing hydroponic gardening into your living room, but also by making the process easier and more efficient than ever.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar, hydroponic gardening is a technique for growing plants without soil; instead they’re supplied with nutrient-rich water to promote growth.

Niwa hydroponic gardening

Normally, these kinds of growing setups require a fair amount of space, knowledge, and effort to maintain, but Niwa simplifies the process, and shrinks the entire setup down into a self-contained pod that does most of the hard work for you.

Using the accompanying smartphone app, you can control a wide range of environmental variables inside Niwa, including temperature, humidity, light, and airflow. The system’s hardware is paired with the smartphone app, so you can either customize the variables on your own, or simply designate what you’re growing and let the app set the right values for you. Once you’re all set up, you can check in and understand your plant’s progress and adjust settings from anywhere in the world.

Niwa hydroponic gardening

It’s definitely not the first entry into the “smart planter” category, but it’s easily one of the most advanced we’ve seen so far. Unfortunately it’s not available for purchase or pre-order at this point, but its creators say they plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign within the next few months to get the project off the ground. For the time being, you can find out morehere.

Stockholm’s New Electric Ferry Takes Just 10 Minutes to Charge

The Movitz, a 75-foot ferry that can carry 100 passengers, is being retrofitted to electric power and a quick-charge system that needs just 10 minutes to fully charge the battery. Photo by Echandia Marine
The Movitz, a 75-foot ferry that can carry 100 passengers, is being retrofitted to electric power and a quick-charge system that needs just 10 minutes to fully charge the battery.

Electricity and water do mix, at least in Stockholm, where an electric ferry promises silent, low-emissions cruising and a unique rapid recharging system.

The Movitz, a 75-foot ferry that can carry 100 passengers, is undergoing a retrofit to electric power. When the battery-powered Movitz sets sail for Stockholm’s Green City Ferries in August, its 335-horsepower diesel engine will have been replaced by two 125 kilowatt electric motors mounted outside the hull—one on each side, for ease of maneuverability.

Passengers won’t have to wait for the Movitz to charge. A rapid charging system takes just 10 minutes to give the ship’s 180 kilowatt-hour nickel metal hydride batteries enough juice to run for one hour at 9 knots. The system was designed by Echandia Marine, a startup founded by a submarine engineer with expertise in marine electrification.

Echandia says the conversion will cut 130 tons of CO2 emissions and 1.5 tons of NOx emissions while cutting operating costs 30 percent. The project is supported by the Swedish Energy Agency.

It makes sense to electrify a vehicle that travels a fixed route with long stops. Like delivery trucks and buses, a ferry has a predictable schedule. The Movitz will spend its days making hourlong journeys with 10-minute layovers in between for charging, while passengers are loaded and unloaded.

Ferries are a crucial means of transport in Stockholm, a city that’s built across 14 islands. The Movitzwill operate on a route between Solna Strand and Stockholm’s Old Town.

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