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ZenGo Wallet secures crypto assets with FaceTec facial biometrics


Cryptographic asset wallet startup ZenGo has implemented a password-free security architecture based on multiple security layers including biometric 3D face authentication, to avoid the risk of recovery phrases or passwords that can be lost or forgotten. ZenGo’s facial biometrics are provided by FaceTec’s ZoOm 3D Face Authentication.

ZenGo launched its crypto wallet to private beta in April, and since then has received many questions about its biometrics use, which it addresses in a Medium post. The company says that correctly implemented biometrics made identity theft attacks much harder, and identity loss cases rarer, while offering a superior user experience, and notes this is why leading consumer electronics companies like Apple and Microsoft are building face biometrics into their newest products.

While ZenGo Wallet uses on-device biometrics, it also offers server-based account recovery for cases in which the user’s device is lost or stolen.

The company emphasizes the difference between FaceTec’s technology, which is tailored for use by a consenting user, and the “conventional ‘Facial Recognition’ that is typically used for surveillance and law enforcement,” which may be ethically questionable, according to the post. ZenGo also notes the importance of FaceTec’s liveness detection capabilities, and presentation attack detection certification.

“We encourage you to test the system for yourself by trying to restore your account with a picture or video of your face,” writes ZenGo Co-founder and Security Research Manager Tal Be’ery. “It will fail, and you can rest assured those pictures of you on Facebook won’t unlock your ZenGo account.”

Because facial images are encoded as a proprietary ZoOm FaceMap and encrypted, ZenGo cannot see them, and because they are stored on ZenGo servers, FaceTec cannot see them, so user privacy is protected, according to Be’ery.

“Biometric-based authentication brings a new set of advantages, but also new vulnerabilities and privacy concerns. That is why we have carefully constructed our biometric system to provide the most security with the least impact on customer privacy.”

FaceTec has been on a role in the first half of 2019, forming partnerships with Jumio and Yoti earlier this year.

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