Tech giant Hitachi has introduced a blockchain-based system for the retail industry that could make shopping a little easier. In a partnership with Japanese telecommunications company KDDI, Hitachi is testing a system for managing retail payments. While this certainly isn’t breaking news – the blockchain has already proven itself to be a valuable asset for retail – how the company is using the technology could lead to a shift in how payments are made. Through the platform, all that is needed is a fingerprint.
In a press release from this past Wednesday, Hitachi reported that a group of individuals from both KDDI and Hitachi are conducting pilot tests of the platform using a coupon settlement system in one of KDDI retail stores. The tests are also being conducted in a local donut shop.
Hitachi designed the platform using Hyperledger Fabric technology. It incorporates the company’s biometric verification system and KDDI’s coupon system and allows consumers to conduct transactions over a distributed network with only their fingerprints.
To use the systems, consumers must register their biometric information and their coupon credits, which are encrypted and recorded on the blockchain. When a consumer wishes to use a coupon at a participating store, the shopper simply verifies his or her identity with a fingerprint scanner. The scanner then sends the data to the network for verification and the transaction is settled.
Hitachi created the system as a means of being able to verify user identity and to maintain proper records of coupon usage across stores. The company points out, “As a result, users can authenticate themselves by holding the finger on the authentication infrastructure, so it is not necessary to present a coupon at the store, and the coupon can be used even without a smartphone.”
While the program is currently launched for coupons, it’s possible to see the same system make its way into other areas of the retail space. Perhaps, eventually, we’ll see an adaptation of the system for virtually all aspects of the retail experience, leading to it becoming the main form of payment and no more “I left my wallet at home” excuses.
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