Hitachi, a Tokyo-based tech leader has partnered with KDDI, a telecom operator to test and experiment with a new blockchain-based biometric system to settle retail payments.
Hitachi’s blockchain is built on biometric data verification and designed to work with KDDI’s coupon system which allows customers with coupons to pay for in-store purchases at merchants using just their fingerprints. The tech is built on Hitachi’s Hyderledger Fabric platform and they hold the first basic blockchain patent which was filed in Japan in 2003. The patent is titled “Hysteresis signature research” and was filed before Bitcoin even launched.
The two companies are running a testing demo of their biometric fingerprint payment system in Toky’s Shinjuku district and also at Mister Donut Takadanobaba Toyamguchi Shop, which is a local donut shop.
The Hyperledger Fabric Project is an umbrella project of blockchains and related tools launched back in 2015. Hitachi has been fiddling with blockchain tech since 2000 and its current developments are based on its long history and research from the past until present. Hitachi said in a statement:
“Since coupon usage information recorded in the blockchain is extremely difficult to tamper with, it is easy to share coupon usage history, securing reliability between KDDI and affiliated stores.”
The technology allows a coupon user to authenticate their payment details by using their fingers without the actual physical coupon needed in the process. The request is then broadcast to them blockchain and then verified against biometric data which generates an e-signature to settle the payment.
All of this is settled by hand which reduces processing time and adds convenience by securely storing information on the network. The payments can also be done without the account holder’s phone.
Compared to older platforms which are prone to security breaches, this new biometric payment system is a lot more secure.
Customer credentials are routinely compromised using regular credit/debit payments. Shape Security reports that the US consumer banking industry faces “nearly $50M per day in potential losses due to credential stuffing attacks.” and Business Insider reports that “at least 15 separate security breaches occurred at retailers from January 2017 until now. many of them were caused by flaws in payments systems, either online or in store.”
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