Backed to business: Crypto wallets, smart desks, and wireless modems

One campaign makes the case for a desk that connects to the internet, while another argues for a crypto wallet that doesn't.
Written by Ross Rubin, Contributor

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting how many people think about how they work, connect, and transact. Recent crowdfunding campaigns have offered a peek at products that take on those staples of digital life. As always, exercise caution when backing a crowdfunding campaign and don't pledge what you can't afford to lose.

HashWallet As the global health crisis has shaken some people's faith in the stability of the current world order and that has resulted in greater interest in cryptocurrency. But crypto has its own challenges, including vulnerability to hacking both at the exchange and client level. That's where HashWallet comes in. Billed as the most secure hardware crypto wallet, the credit-card-sized device looks like an updated version of those digital credit cards that sought to store other credit card info.

It includes a large e-ink screen and a fingerprint reader, and support all major cryptocurrencies. And should the card be lost or stolen, users can store the recovery key in a secure online service and the recovery seed in a separate card. HashWallet's Spain-based developers are offering the product through Indiegogo for $167 and expect to deliver the product in December

AiT Smart One. With the sudden shift to working at home, many have had to adjust to a reduced set of office amenities. For those who may need to get used to working at home or for those who are just looking to upgrade their WFH setup, AIT has packed an unusual mix of features into the adjustable-height work staple, including a footrest, ambient LED lighting, stereo speakers, wireless charging, an app-enabled an air-quality monitor, and a "fitness and health module" that can engage you in exercises to promote stress relief, productivity enhancement, and other benefits. Options include such traditional accessories as a desktop PC holder and a much less traditional aromatherapy diffuser. You can even get your essential oils directly from the company.

The Smart One is available in a range of colors and finishes and the dizzying number of options translate into a wide range of pledge prices: From $449 for the basics to $988 for the fully loaded configuration. And if that's not enough, there's an even larger version called the Phantom 1 that's offered for $1,149. The Fort Myers-based creators are offering the desk through Indiegogo and expect to deliver the product in August.

Nect Modem. Before the Mi-Fi spurred the idea of the personal hotspot, there were cellular modems that connected directly to laptops. Nect is an attempt to revive those products. Unlike dedicated personal hotspots, the product has no battery, but the company has focused on minimizing battery drain from the laptop. That said, when so connected, it can support multiple devices via personal hotspot capability.

The company's house plan will be a contract-free $6 per gigabyte, which beats the Karma personal hotspot plans in both price and complexity. And while a directly connected modem can have certain security benefits, that pricing doesn't jibe with its suggestion that it can replace your home Wi-Fi. Nect can be configured for carriers around the world and also supports Bring-Your-Own-SIM as well as a VPN option. Nect's Boulder-based developers are offering the product through Indiegogo for $99 and expect to deliver the product in July.

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