In a collaborative effort, Hitachi Research & Development and blockchain developer Concordium Foundation are working on a pioneering project—an innovative biometric cryptocurrency wallet. The joint initiative aims to establish a “proof of technology” for this novel wallet, designed to offer enhanced security and convenience for users.
Hitachi aims to revolutionize interaction with the wallet
The upcoming biometric wallet by Hitachi Research is set to revolutionize the way users interact with and secure their cryptocurrency assets. The primary distinction lies in its capacity to generate a set of seed words exclusively through biometric data, specifically fingerprints or facial scans. Unlike conventional wallets that necessitate users to store and remember seed words, this biometric wallet eliminates that requirement. Users will have the ability to reimport their wallet accounts by undergoing a second biometric scan, rendering seed word memorization obsolete.
It is important to note that the wallet is still in its early development stages, referred to as a “proof of technology” rather than a fully realized product. Upon completion, the wallet will leverage Hitachi’s Public Biometric Infrastructure (PBI) and Concordium network’s self-sovereign identity framework to establish biometric-based accounts. Concordium representatives highlight the potential significance of such a biometric wallet within the Concordium network, which mandates users to undergo an “ID process” before creating an account to prevent malicious activities like hacks and rug pulls.
The unique nature of the Concordium network makes preserving user access to their ID crucial, and a biometric wallet aligns well with this requirement. However, the developers emphasize that the application of biometric wallets is not limited to the Concordium network; the technology could theoretically be extended to any blockchain in the future. Unlocking the biometric wallet involves either regenerating seed words via a biometric scan or decrypting a copy of seed words using a key derived from the scan.
The collaboration and a future for biometric crypto wallets
Importantly, attackers would generally face significant hurdles in accessing a user’s account without possession of the user’s face or fingerprint. A notable feature of this biometric wallet is its adaptability to device changes or loss. If a user loses their device, they can seamlessly import their wallet into another device by undergoing a biometric scan on the new device. This eliminates the need for users to store copies of seed words, enhancing the overall security and usability of the wallet.
Hitachi’s development team encountered challenges in creating the PBI, particularly due to the inherently “fuzzy” nature of biometric data. Face or fingerprint scans of the same person never produce identical data, posing a challenge for accurate identification. To address this, the team implemented “fuzzy key generation and special error correction technology” to extract feature vectors from scans. This approach allowed the software to distinguish between scans of different individuals and those of the same person.
In the realm of cryptocurrency wallets, the conventional approach requires users to store seed words as a backup in case of device failure. Losing this backup often results in permanent loss of access to the account and any funds within it, posing a barrier to the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. The collaboration between Hitachi and Concordium offers a potential solution to this problem through the development of a biometric wallet.
The biometric wallet concept aligns with broader industry efforts to enhance security and user experience. Other alternatives include multiparty-computation wallets and magic links, each addressing the challenges associated with seed word management. As this collaborative project progresses, it holds the promise of reshaping how users interact with and secure their cryptocurrency holdings, potentially overcoming obstacles hindering widespread adoption.