Hitachi announced yesterday the launch of a new system that utilizes blockchain technology to make fingerprint payments.
Working in collaboration with Japanese telecommunications company KDDI, Hitachi has integrated a Hyperledger Fabric blockchain platform into its biometric verification hardware that links to a KDDI payment platform.
The KDDI Corporation was formed in October 2000 as a merger of three Japanese telecommunications businesses. In 2014 the company announced a partnership with Google to build a 60Tbit/s undersea data transmission cable connecting Japan to the United States.
Hassle-free fingerprint payments
With the new Hitachi and KDDI system, customers will be able to settle payments with just their fingerprint. The system is designed to work with KDDI’s existing coupon payments facility and will initially be trialed at a KDDI store in Tokyo.
Users will be required to sign up to the platform by registering their coupon details and biometric data which will then be encrypted and securely stored on Hitachi’s integrated blockchain network. Once registered, a users identity is verified by a fingerprint reader at the retailer which then links to the blockchain network and completes the transaction via KDDI’s coupon settlement platform.
Hitachi hopes to develop the system into a highly secure, decentralized and tamper-proof payments facility that can be instantly updated and shared amongst all participating retailers.
Fingerprint payments are a relatively new concept, but Hitachi has been working with the technology for a while. In October 2016, Hitachi developed a system that uses a normal smartphone camera to successfully scan and verify fingerprints. Unlike normal fingerprint scanners that utilize infrared sensors to read fingerprints, the Hitachi system scans vein patterns in the user’s finger.
The new fingerprints payments system will also be tested by a donut store in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. Each store using the system becomes a node on the Hitachi blockchain network.
Increasing interest in blockchain verification
Hitachi, along with several other electronics corporations, has been more actively exploring the verification benefits of blockchain recently. In September last year, the company partnered with Mizuho Financial Group to develop a supply chain management system that uses blockchain to create a secure and easily accessible ledger of all order-related data.
Fingerprint scanning technology is just one of many identification systems that have found increased benefits through integration with a blockchain network. Facial recognition and retinal scanners can also be paired with blockchain to provide similar solutions.
The benefits of identity verification via blockchain is also becoming increasingly recognized for its humanitarian applications. A recent system has been proposed to securely store details of victims of the African refugee crisis. If successful, the system could change the lives of millions of displaced citizens.
Mark Hartley is an IT specialist, freelance writer, keen traveler, and blockchain enthusiast. He has worked on the trading floors of the world’s biggest interdealer broker in London and helped integrate crypto-services into IT trading systems. When he’s not searching for the world’s most beautiful beach, he’s nose deep in any crypto and blockchain related news.