One of the biggest online marketplaces in the world just launched an all-new, risky-ish way to pay. Alibaba, billed as China's Amazon, claims that new tech lets you verify your identity by simply snapping a selfie.
Alibaba CEO Jack Ma demonstrated the tech onstage at a technology conference in Germany by pointing his smartphone's camera at his head and snapping a photo to confirm an order.
The company is calling its new payment confirmation system Smile to Pay, but don't expect it hitting your cellphone anytime soon. Jack Ma explained why he thinks the tech will be valuable during his demonstration:
[Using] online payments to buy things is always a big headache. Forget your password, you worry about security. Today we'll show you a new technology, how people in the future will buy things online.
Services like Smile to Pay may be a reaction to the popularity of Apple Pay's one-touch payment solution. My problem, however, lies with the fact that a selfie-based payment system would definitely be wide open to hackers and scammers. Apple Pay has already helped scammers steal millions, and I can't imagine how much a vulnerability in Alibaba's new payment system would help them steal.
I'd need to see a lot of evidence that Alibaba's selfie payment system was secure before I'd consider using it. Luckily, Alibaba has plenty of time to work on the tech. Let's hope that the company gets it right.