Hitachi will introduce a retail blockchain-based payment method that confirms purchases through the use of a fingerprint.
In a statement released by the company this Wednesday, the Japanese-based conglomerate has assembled a team to work on the system. The project is still in experimental stage, but Hitachi has also partnered up with Japanese telecommunications KDDI and integrated a Hyperledger Fabric blockchain into its biometric ID authentication hardware. An early version of the system working with coupons has already been rolled out in a donut shop in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district.
According to the release, shoppers using the system will have to register their biometric information and transfer coupon credits to an e-wallet, integrated into the system. This information is then stored on the blockchain as a string of encrypted data. However, the coupons themselves are not a form of blockchain-based tokens.
Shoppers will then be able to pay for purchases using their fingerprint at retail shops that accept such coupons and participates in the blockchain as a node. The fingerprint reading device verifies their identity, and broadcasts a request to the network to validate the transaction.
“[I]t is not necessary to present the coupon at the store, and the coupon can be used even without the smartphone,” further clarifies the press release. “Hitachi’s proprietary technology, which operates on blockchain, enables automatic generation of electronic signature … with low risk of theft and leakage as a secret key.”
This isn’t Hitachi’s first venture into the world of blockchain technology. The company is a founding member of Hyperledger, an umbrella project of open-source blockchains, started in 2015 by the Linux Foundation. In late 2017, Nasdaq listed Hitachi in its Reality Shares Nasdaq Blockchain Economy Index – an index for companies which focus on blockchain technology.
KDDI and Hitachi expressed willingness to cooperate in the future on other similar projects. “[We] will continue to support the creation of added value by enterprises by establishing and examining new business models to realize new services in various fields,” concluded the press release.