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  • P Xenos and M Bacina

China launches first facial recognition car rental service using blockchain


China, through Alibaba’s financial affiliate Alipay, a mobile and online payment platform, is in the process of wide-releasing a new blockchain-based initiative that allows drivers to complete the entire car rental process in two minutes by “swiping your face.”


The country’s first unmanned kiosk was rolled out in Kunming, China on Monday and allows consumers to drive off in their rental car after interacting with the machine.


The new model, coupled with Alipay’s facial recognition payment system, reportedly completes the entire process without an attendant or manual car inspection. The consumer does not need to carry any ID cards or credit cards. Instead, a face swipe triggers the transaction.


The kiosk, available at Kunming Changshui International Airport, allows consumers to use their mobile phones by first launching the Alipay app to place an order. Users are then prompted to “swipe their face” at the kiosk. After confirming the order, a driver can select certain features for the car and unlock the car doors by using their smartphone.


The system then integrates blockchain capabilities to track the rental car process with a goal of preventing potential transaction disputes.

The new procedure for car rentals is said to cover all of Yunnan Province, helping and further solidifying President Xi’s goal of becoming the world leader in blockchain technology. Similar biometric solutions have been introduced in the US, but without blockchain capabilities that allow both parties to track transactions securely on an immutable ledger.


In Australia, face recognition company Kairos has begun to test the waters of integrating blockchain in order to increase the security of identity verification and digital identity management, and is definitely a use case to be watched.