African Blockchain Payment Service Employs Facial Recognition for Underbanked Population
Facial recognition technology, coupled with liveness detection, will not only bolster anti-fraud measures but also allow for the identification of individual customers’ financial behaviors and preferences.
By Anna B Kiwanuka
The forthcoming addition of a facial recognition payment system to the TIER app by The Advanced Project is set to revolutionize blockchain-based multinational payment and remittance services for the underbanked in Africa. This initiative, as revealed in an official statement, highlights the remarkable security and decentralized nature of blockchain, ensuring transparent and dependable financial transactions.
Facial recognition technology, coupled with liveness detection, will not only bolster anti-fraud measures but also allow for the identification of individual customers’ financial behaviors and preferences. This, in turn, will enable the provision of personalized financial services. The innovation empowers secure, cost-effective payments, irrespective of the device used, eliminating the need for smartphones, cards, or cash, ultimately leading to reduced operational costs.
The utilization of the Advanced Project ecosystem’s utility token, known as AUC tokens, as rewards for users utilizing facial biometrics for payments, adds an extra layer of incentive to this groundbreaking initiative. Anticipated to launch in Q4 of 2023 and achieve full commercialization by Q2 of 2024, this biometric payment approach will also find its place within the Dubai AI & Web3 Campus, located in Dubai’s DIFC Innovation Hub, by the close of 2023.
Additionally, The Advanced Project is addressing the needs of the unbanked population that struggles to verify their identity by distributing deposit-only ATMs. These innovative machines allow users to convert their TIER app into a digital passbook by depositing cash into the ATM, entering their TIER account information, or simply scanning a QR code before the funds are added to their balance.
Numerous communities across the African continent contend with limited income and resources, often grappling with linguistic and cultural barriers when attempting to access financial services. This challenge is even more pronounced for refugees and immigrants, who are statistically more likely to join the ranks of the unbanked.
As part of a pilot program, ten ATMs have been successfully installed in South Africa. By the fourth quarter of 2024, over 30 additional machines are slated to be deployed in major cities and underserved rural regions, addressing gaps in financial infrastructure.
Recent financial contributions from the Indian government, amounting to $2 million, have been directed towards the African Development Bank’s digital financial inclusion project. This funding aims to extend digital public infrastructure to the unbanked population, further underscoring the commitment to bridging financial disparities.