Hitachi and KDDI’s Test on Blockchain Biometrics Retail System

Japanese telecom giant KDDI Corporation and Tokyo-based company Hitachi are testing the biometric retail system using blockchain technology.

Author: Sohrab Khawas

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    Hitachi Ltd is a Japan-based multinational conglomerate company which has its headquarter in Chiyoda, Tokyo, established in 1910. KDDI is a Japanese telecoms operator founded in October 2000. They are testing a blockchain-based system that can easily settle retail payments by verifying and using shoppers’ fingerprints.

    According to the reports, on June 26, both companies have conducted the coupon settlement system trial for the retail industry. They were trying to combine the blockchain technology with biometrics.

    Their motive is to easily validate your identity by just using the vein of your finger and using the coupon at the retail store. This verification test recognizes the system convenience and issues.

    Hitachi and KDDI New Blockchain System

    Hitachi’s trial integrates the blockchain technology from Hyper ledger Fabric platform with the leading biometric verification and KDDI’s ongoing coupon system. Their public type biometric authentication infrastructure (PBI) will be basically in use with the Hyper ledger Fabric.

    Users will initially register their biometric data with all the coupon credits at particular KDDI store. Then they can settle their transactions via coupon at their local retail shop, using their fingerprints to verify the purchase.

    They plan to conduct an experiment with the retail coupon settlement system. Their company employees will utilize fingerprint authentication for specifying their identification. This will be in action to configure the problems and improvements.

    Also read – How Blockchain Technologies Will Eliminate Trust Issue in the Business?

    Hitachi is focusing on the use of tamper-proof blockchain that can assist to validate customers’ fingerprints. Also, to track the coupon usage details accuracy and update them over the range of stores simultaneously.

    The company said during its release:

    “As a result, users can authenticate themselves by holding the finger on the authentication infrastructure, so it is not necessary to present a coupon at the store, and the coupon can be used even without a smartphone.”

    The Planning Behind the New System Integration

    The firms believe that the coupon usage details recorded in the blockchain are much more complex to tamper with; it’s still easy and reliable to share the coupon usage history safely between KDDI and the affiliated retail stores.

    Hitachi elaborates:

    “Unlike traditional biometric authentication technology, PBI does not need to preserve biological information itself such as finger vein and can authenticate using public key converted to data difficult to decode.”

    With the concern of customers’ privacy and security in mind, Hitachi adds that its technology automatically generates an electronic signature “with the classified data of biometric information”. This will lower the risk of theft.

    Hitachi has already shown much interest in blockchain for a long time. In 2016, the firm together with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ began the proof of concept (PoC) experimenting with the usage of blockchain in the cheque digitalization. In the same year, Hitachi also informed Fintech Futures about the Hyperledger integration.

    The integrating blockchain with biometrics to generate immutable and safe ID verification systems has been in motion for some time, with many recommending potential benefits.

    The veteran and security systems expert from the cryptocurrency industry, Andreas M. Antonopoulos, also expressed his atheism in early 2016, specifying that:

    “By embedding into a blockchain, the irrevocability of biometrics is added to the immutability of a blockchain which makes dealing with compromised biometrics even more difficult. [Moreover], while biometric registration may not reduce anonymity directly, it can be used to enhance statistical analysis of activity, so that the leak of a single identifier can destroy all privacy.”

    What do you think about the new coupon system? Will this be a successful trial looking into the upcoming blockchain future? Let us know on Twitter.

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