IDEMIA and ConsenSys are trying to raise financial inclusion with a new solution that will ensure that everyone has access to digital currencies. The buzz around Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) has grown over the course of the past year, and several countries are expected to launch such currencies to the public within the next 12 months.
The problem, according to IDEMIA, is that many of the current technology solutions assume that the user has access to a smartphone, which is often not the case in underbanked areas of the world. The new IDEMIA and ConsenSys offering is designed to be compatible with any device, up to and including SIM cards and biometric payment cards. The solution also supports an offline mode, so people will still be able to make payments in areas with no network connection, or when the network goes down due to a cyberattack or a natural disaster.
The Secure Offline CBDC Payment Solution leverages ConsenSys’ Ethereum blockchain technology to achieve that utility. IDEMIA, meanwhile, will provide a smart contract to make sure the platform stays secure, and that each person’s financial information remains private.
As it stands, roughly 1.7 billion people do not yet have a bank account, while the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has argued that offline service should be a top priority in a robust and resilient CBDC system. The planned IDEMIA and ConsenSys system can be accessed through a smartphone, a feature phone, and a wearable device in addition to a biometric card. In each case, offline service is realized through the use of an embedded secure element.
“We have designed this solution with the public interest in mind and we believe it will help central banks, commercial banks and fintechs deploy their digital currencies on a large scale,” said IDEMIA Digital Currencies and FinTech VP Jerome Ajdenbaum. “With 86 percent of Central Banks working on projects, we believe that CBDCs represent the future of money, and the joint IDEMIA and ConsenSys expertise on that sector can help it grow throughout the world.”
IDEMIA and ConsenSys unveiled their Secure Offline CBDC Payment Solution at the Monetary Authority of Singapore Global CBDC Challenge hackathon, which was set up to encourage the development of CBDC solutions that would boost financial inclusion. The IDEMIA and ConsenSys offering has been shortlisted as a finalist from a pool of more than 300 entries.