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Crypto Wallets Enter the Biometric Era, 12 Years After Phones

2 mins
Updated by Michael Washburn
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In Brief

  • Biometric access for crypto wallets has finally arrived, allowing users to unlock hot storage wallets using their face or fingerprint.
  • Biometric authentication on mobile phones appeared as early as 2011.
  • It could mean less time worrying about losing your seed phrase.
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Crypto wallets have entered the biometric age. Only 12 years after the Motorola Atrix 4G introduced the innovation for mobile phones.

A cybersecurity and wallet infrastructure firm has launched a new feature that allows users to turn their bodies into the key that unlocks their crypto wallet. For the first time, crypto holders can access their hot storage wallet with their face or fingerprint. The development means you may have to worry less about forgetting your seed phrase.

However, the concept itself is not completely new. Biometric access first appeared on mobile phones back in 2011.

Biometric Feature in Beta

A hot storage wallet is an internet-connected digital wallet. Cold storage wallets are offline, are usually physical devices, and are generally considered more secure.

The new service will work across all popular web browsers and mobile operating systems via a process called Delegate Signing. This feature ensures that only the approved user can access their wallet by using a special cryptographic key that is generated and securely stored within the device.

The biometric web-authenticated wallet-as-a-service is currently in beta and open for integration by developer teams.

Improving Web3 UX

One of the enduring complaints about crypto is its complicated user experience (UX). Sending and receiving crypto can still be relatively tricky for new users. Its ease of use has a long way to go, to catch up with Web2. 

The industry is still a fair way behind. Motorola Atrix 4G introduced a fingerprint sensor for unlocking smartphones in 2011. However, it was in 2013, when Apple released the iPhone 5s with Touch ID, a fingerprint recognition system, that biometric authentication gained significant popularity on smartphones. 

Other manufacturers followed suit, with Samsung integrating fingerprint sensors into their Galaxy S5 in 2014.

Samsung’s rival Apple further advanced biometric authentication in 2017 by introducing Face ID with the iPhone X. It became the first facial recognition technology for device unlocking and authentication.

Six years later, crypto users often have to remember a “seed phrase” to access their crypto. Losing or forgetting your seed phrase can result in permanent loss of access to your wallet and its contents.

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Josh Adams
Josh is a reporter at BeInCrypto. He first worked as a journalist over a decade ago, initially covering music before moving into politics and current affairs. Josh first owned Bitcoin in 2014 and has followed the space ever since. He is particularly interested in Web3 adoption, policy and regulation, CBDCs, privacy, and the future of the metaverse.
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