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Is Blockchain and Biometrics a Match Made in Digital Heaven?

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By George Khoury, Esq. on October 17, 2017 6:59 AM

When it comes to confirming a person's identity, biometrics has come quite a long way since the days of Pudd'nhead Wilson. Smartphones now contain biometric scanners that can not only read fingerprints, but also faces.

However, with the added security of biometrics to confirm a person's identity, can the blockchain technology that has been touted as tamper resistant be made even more secure?

Storing Biodata on the Blockchain?

While both blockchain and biometrics have many uses, and many ways to be used together, one aspect of blockchain and biometrics that may seem out of the question is storing biodata in a blockchain. Though a similar centralized ledger technology could work, the idea behind blockchain is to rely somewhat on the public aspect of it (though some blockchains are private). Storing a person's biometric data in a public log seems to be a recipe for disaster.

However, allowing some access to a centralized biometrics database could truly revolutionize the way the individuals around the world secure their identity.

Biometrics as the Blockchain key?

When it comes to being able to log a transaction to a certain blockchain, a key, or password, is required. One issue with blockchain is the sensitivity to lost or stolen passwords. Though two-factor authentication can often protect against tampering, including some form of biometric screening to recover a lost key could potentially be integrated to prevent loss.

And speaking of passwords, your biometric data is as tamper-proof as a password can get, or could serve as an extremely difficult hurdle for hackers to get around. Requiring a biometric password to transact with a blockchain can reduce the risk of theft of blockchain keys.

Biometrics in America

Whether or not you want it, there is already a centralized database of biometric data being collected by the government. As part of the REAL ID Act, states are required to take digital photographs for driver's licenses that can be input into facial recognition software. Additionally, many states also collect fingerprints in order to issue a driver's' licenses.

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