HashCash and biometrics research institute partner on blockchain based digital identity
Renowned biometrics expert Anil Jain has been known to tell people that if anyone proposes to them to combine biometrics with blockchain, they should “run away.”
An unnamed biometrics research institute is working with blockchain development company HashCash Consultants to work on the creation of digital identities based on distributed ledger technology.
HashCash says its proposed solution is appropriate for companies seeking ways to securely perform identification.
The global biometrics research firm the company has partnered with produces annual survey reports, which indicate that over the next five years, innovating digital identification will be the main focus of biometrics research, according to the announcement.
“Blockchain’s intrinsic features ticks all the necessary boxes for real-time digital identification,” says HashCash CEO Raj Chowdhury, who is referred to as a “noted blockchain pioneer” in the announcement. “With further R&D, the time is not far from where we can witness seamless blockchain integration with biometric identification worldwide.”
Chowdhury suggests that the use of blockchain can improve the transparency and help assure users of the provenance of biometric identification, resolving many challenges in the industry.
“Testing is crucial in domains like biometric research where privacy and security are the top concerns. While possibilities with blockchain are limitless, it is essential to figure out the right integration approach for efficient implementation,” Chowdhury adds.
Immutability as an asset or liability
Jain’s worry about the use of blockchain with biometric systems is based on the inability of distributed ledger records to be changed after the fact. While providing robust protection from various kinds of manipulation, this architecture also means that any data, such as biometrics, included in the chain can be accessed much later.
If biometric records are recorded on a blockchain, therefore, even in encrypted form, they will be vulnerable to exfiltration and abuse by hackers who in the future may be able to defeat encryption or other protective measures.
Because of this, systems involving both technologies are typically proposed to store the actual biometric record elsewhere, with a derived token or pointer to the template data in their place on the chain.
Hash ID works, according to the HashCash website, by leveraging native device capabilities for biometrics collection and template storage, controlling access to the digital identity.
The company is hardly alone in believing that biometrics and blockchain will eventually be integrated, with Frost & Sullivan claiming the combination could redefine digital identity over the next 10 years.