Hitachi Trialing a Blockchain Biometric Payment System

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Japanese tech giant Hitachi is teaming up with fellow Japanese telecommunications operator KDDI to build, develop, and test a new payment system that works using fingerprints. This futuristic tech idea would use a blockchain to store user data and handle the transactions. While the idea is currently being tested on a small-scale solution, it has the ability to revolutionize the world. If they succeed, it’s safe to say that “forgetting” your wallet will no longer be an excuse not to pay for that round of drinks.

How Will It Work?

While the details released are very limited – for obvious reasons – there is enough to work out how the new payment system will work. Essentially users will register for the service and create some form of wallet, which they can then top-up with crypto or fiat currency, this information would then be stored on the blockchain. Once a registered user wishes to pay for something, they simply scan their finger at a reader – much like tapping your wireless bank card – and the wallet linked to that fingerprint will be debited. American Express is working on something very similar, but instead it will use a card and a proof-of-payment algorithm.

The Future of Payments

For now, the idea is currently in the testing phase, but if the tests go well and the blockchain provides the reliability and security needed, this biometric payment system could be the future. The first contactless payment cards came out in 1997, with it achieving wide-scale roll out around 2007. Since then a lot has changed and blockchain is the way forwards. As we saw with contactless payments, it will be some time before this new technology catches on, but in five to ten years paying for everything with a fingerprint could possibly become the norm.

Hurdles Still to Jump

In order for this technology to become mainstream, it needs to work well and save people time – otherwise it is destined to be a failure. Currently, the testing phase is focusing on speed of transactions to ensure that the biometric verification process isn’t too cumbersome for a blockchain to handle. In addition to this, they will need to streamline the registration process to make it as quick and easy as possible. If they can overcome these hurdles and produce the technology, it will have no barriers inhibiting its access to the market.
Blockchain technology has a huge range of implementations and can solve an array of existing issues – from counterfeit products to falsified records. The same blockchain technology could be the answer to ensuring the pharmaceutical industry becomes as safe as possible, preventing money laundering from occurring. A world where you don’t have to carry a bulky wallet around with you sounds exciting and we cannot wait for this tech to land and go mainstream!