Paris-based crypto security firm Dfns has announced plans to integrate biometric identification into its wallet-as-a-service toolkit, allowing crypto developers to build wallets that use Face ID, fingerprint scanners and other biometrics to secure user funds to secure.
The collapse of the FTX exchange last year and numerous similar incidents have reinforced that storing crypto in a personal wallet is the safest option, rather than entrusting it to an exchange or escrow.
Still, many people continue to store their funds with companies like Coinbase and Binance. The reason? Crypto wallets can be inconvenient to use as they often contain private keys made up of long strings of letters and numbers.
According to Clarisse Hagège, CEO of Dfns, which raised $15 million in funding: “The first place a new user can start their Web3 journey is by opening a wallet, and when the UX is unfamiliar, awkward or feels unfamiliar, conversion and retention are likely to drop precipitously.” UX stands for “user interface.”
Dfns is trying to change the dynamic by integrating biometric authentication into its wallet suite to help developers create more user-friendly wallets. “The beauty of using biometrics here is that it’s extremely efficient in terms of UX,” Hagège told CoinDesk.
The biometric feature is based on the open-source WebAuthn standard, which allows users to authenticate themselves without directly sharing their biometric data with third parties.
“Everything is stored on the phone,” Hagège said.
Adding biometric support to crypto wallets could be a new trend. Coinbase, the exchange and wallet provider, has announced that it will add the feature to its wallet-as-a-service suite.
Hagège argues that the Dfns setup is fundamentally different from that of Coinbase and other wallet services. Coinbase and other companies tend to use something called multi-party computation (MPC) to secure private keys — a clever technique that allows wallet providers to manage a user’s private key without having full access to it .
Dfns uses a different technique called “delegated security” to achieve the same goal. With this method, the key is distributed across a distributed network of nodes rather than between a single user and a service provider. According to Hagège, the method makes wallets more secure, less prone to downtime and more regulation-friendly.