MasterCard Applies to Patent Blockchain Solution for Fighting Fake Identities

MasterCard sees blockchain technology as more secure than traditional identification systems

by Marin Marinov
13 April • 2 min
In News

Global payment services provider MasterCard may rely on blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies, for combating fake identities, a company patent application released by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Thursday suggests. The payments giant sees blockchain technology as more secure than traditional, government, and credit cards identification systems.

MasterCard’s idea is to develop a distributed storage via blockchain that enables secure protection and verification of customers data, including name, street address and tax identification number. The distributed ledger-based solution will be private or semi-private, not open as the blockchain of the leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC). It will allow only certain Mastercard-approved nodes to submit data with the aim to combat filing of false information and to protect the accuracy of the stored data.

“The use of [blockchain] may ensure for fast and efficient accessibility of data, while still maintaining compliance with regulations regarding the on-site storage of such data…[Blockchain] may provide an accurate verification thereof and also prevent the fabrication,” MasterCard explains in the filling to the USPTO.

Blockchain vs traditional systems

MasterCard patent filling is important because of the definition of blockchain as secure and reliable system and because of the company’s conclusions on traditional identification systems.

“Traditionally, such proof [of identity] has been provided via government identification, credit cards, business cards, correspondents, etc. In these cases, the provided proof may be inaccurate or may be entirely fabricated in such way that may be difficult to identify [and]… and disapprove a false identity…,” MasterCard filing states.

The US payment system company has filed over 30 blockchain-related patents so far for “interbank payments, tracking trade finance obligations along the value chain, exchanging know your customer and anti-money laundering data between trusted parties, and more”, MasterCard Labs spokesperson has told the Financial Times.

The patent news comes along with other major developments in blockchain implementation in bank activities. This week, Santander launched international blockchain-based payment service for retail clients and Japanese bank giant SBI joined R3-led Corda consortium for development of DLT-based transactions.

On Thursday, USPTO also released a Bank of America (BoA) patent application from 2016 for blockchain-based storage system with automated data authentication. MasterCard`s and BoA`s fillings are applications, not granted patents. They should be revised by the office before being approved or rejected.