BasicCard is a programmable SmartCard
This is our "No-Frames-Area", for those of you having the Nokia Communicator or other tiny
little things :-)
ZeitControl’s BasicCards were developed with the aim of making the programming of smart card
applications as simple and inexpensive as possible. There are currently two versions available: the
Compact BasicCard, with 1K of EEPROM, and the Enhanced BasicCard, with 8K of EEPROM.
Elliptic Curve Cryptography requires the Enhanced BasicCard; this card is available for $4.35 in small
A BasicCard application is programmed in ZeitControl’s ZC-Basic language. This language is similar
to Microsoft ® Visual Basic, with special features to facilitate the implementation of ISO-compatible
commands. An application will typically consist of two programs: the Terminal program, running in a
PC and issuing commands; and the BasicCard program, running in a BasicCard and executing those
commands. The commands are compatible with ISO standard 7816-4, so it is not necessary to program
both ends in ZC-Basic. For instance, you can write a ZC-Basic Terminal program to talk to a German
Geldkarte; or you can program a BasicCard in ZC-Basic to respond to ISO commands from a card
reader in a bank. (We have done both these things; fortunately the highly-secure Geldkarte system
offered us no temptations that we had to resist.)
So ZC-Basic is an amphibious language, running equally happily in a PC or in a BasicCard. With a few
exceptions, the Elliptic Curve library presents the same user interface on both platforms.
2 Elliptic Curves in Basic?
Basic is a much-denigrated language. It has been estimated (by Microsoft, admittedly) that 70% of all
programs are written in Basic; but I have never met anybody who claims to be a Basic programmer.
Perhaps I move in the wrong circles. In any case, when ZeitControl came to me eighteen months ago
and asked if I could make them a Basic card, my immediate response was, “Surely you mean Java
card?” “No, no”, they said, “we want to build a Volkswagen, not a Ferrari! Look out of your window –
how many Ferraris do you see in the street?” And they were right. Basic has proven to be perfectly
adequate for smart card applications, and free of all the implementation headaches associated with Java
Go to downloads
chip card readers that work with BasicCard
order basiccards online !
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