Biometric smart card partnerships formed by Ethernom for crypto and Toppan for healthcare
While biometric payment cards are attracting most of the attention in industry media, the established market for smart cards is reaching $13.9 billion in 2021, and is forecast to grow at a 4 percent CAGR to $16.9 billion by 2026 by MarketsandMarkets.
Asia-Pacific is the largest smart card market, and several countries in the region are increasing their adoption of chip-based smart cards for applications including transportation, BFSI and retail transactions, government and healthcare services. The security and access control segment is expected to grow at the highest rate during the forecast period.
In line with these observations, a pair of partnerships have been announced to develop secure biometric smart cards, one for crypto conversion and IoT management involving Ethernom, and another for post-quantum healthcare data security involving Toppan.
Ethernom partners with Nesten on biometric smart cards for crypto token conversion
Blockchain IoT networking company Nesten and biometric smart card maker Ethernom have partnered to integrate the storage and management of crypto tokens including Nesten’s NIT token in Ethernom’s decentralized digital ID cards.
The strategic collaboration is intended to provide a timely, manageable and secure way to convert cryptocurrencies and other crypto tokens. Nesten’s NIT token gives individuals the capability to monetize their marketable sensor content by providing a reliable and secure method for exchanging value and paying for data, according to the announcement.
The combination of Nesten’s decentralized network and NIT tokens with Ethernom’s biometric card technology addresses the barriers to crypto adoption noted above, and can help transition cryptocurrency into the mainstream, the companies believe.
Ethernom smart cards can be used at an ATM-style cryptocurrency kiosk to convert digital holdings or withdraw cash. The cards are equipped with RFI and NFC communication protocols and Bluetooth Low Energy, with a battery typically lasting months on a singly charge.
“As cryptocurrencies and IoT sensors increase in their utilities, we want to be ready for the inevitable onramp of transformation,” says Dr. Andrew Baek, Nesten CEO and CTO. “We are looking at multiple approaches that will allow us to lead the market in a transformation driven by end-to-end IoT solution, cryptocurrencies, and central banks, and our partnership with Ethernom is an important first step in the process.”
Ethernom has also spun off digital wallet startup ExtoWallet, which makes smart cards with FPC fingerprint biometrics and support for smartphone-based facial recognition.
Toppan partners to develop biometric post-quantum card solution
Toppan has formed partnerships with cybersecurity company Isara Corporation to develop smart cards with biometric security and post-quantum public key cryptography.
The partnership also includes a joint research agreement with Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) to assess the feasibility of smart cards for authentication to access the ‘Healthcare Long-term INtegrity and Confidentiality protection System’ (H-LINCOS).
H-LINCOS uses an authority matrix based on 26 types of official qualification for access control, but healthcare professionals are currently required to input ID numbers and passwords on dedicated system terminals. The smart card project is intended to extend the system beyond those terminals.
Access control through contactless biometrics and the ID cards from Toppan is given as an example of the king of solution the partners have in mind for the innovation. The cards could also support payments, and protect against unauthorized access, spoof attacks and data theft.
The companies note widespread speculation that quantum computers capable of decrypting currently unbreakable keys will become available within the next ten years, though some believe they could come sooner.
The partners plan implementation of the technology to the cards in 2022, with limited applications coming available in 2025.