Mastercard - Mastering the Blockchain
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Financial services giant MasterCard (NYSE: MA) keeps patenting blockchain solutions. Yesterday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has released two patents for the company.


The payment system found a "method for conveyance of credentials through a third party data source", the first patent says.

The two-way method will first encode an image of a payment card and then, after encryption with a public and private key, will store it on the blockchain. Later, when payment confirmation will be received, by using the provided private keys, system will decrypt the image so it can be verified.

Mastercard claims that with this method transactions will be more secure and card holders will feel safer since their data can’t be illegally collected (skimmed) from the magnetic stripe of their cards.

"The transaction may be conducted via the display of a machine-readable code to the point of sale device, which may further prevent skimming as the reading of such a code can be more easily controlled via control of the underlying display; the display can be easily shielded and is often obscured when in a pocket or purse." Mastercard explained in their patent application.

Materialization of this method as a new product is debatable but it is clear that Mastercard is going the extra mile to find potential ways to benefit from blockchain technology and to make improvements with its main card business. Card providers are globally exposed $2 billion worth of card skimmings.


The same day mastercard was awarded with another patent, but this time it was made to offer tourists with a wider choice of hotels, airlines, flight, and other services provider. According to the patent, this will help to optimize the world tourism industry. The method will allow tourists to share detailed information about their routes, later this data will be transferred and stored in blockchain, and then transmitted to all nodes within the network. Tour operators will be able to send reservation requests, which are evaluated by the server and returned to the tourist.

“The use of a blockchain can ensure that a traveler’s desired travel itinerary is publicly accessible to each merchant that is capable of bidding on the itinerary. This enables all travel providers to have an equal opportunity to earn the business of a traveler, without requiring the traveler to seek out every potential travel provider, and without the travel provider having to expend significant resources on marketing and outreach,” patent says.

Earlier this month, Mastercard won a patent for a system that employs blockchain technology to authenticate coupons. The technology behind it aimed "to store and track coupon data, such that the issuing entity is not required to store or manage any data, thereby freeing up resources and processing power for the entity." The idea is that a blockchain can help reduce the risk of data manipulation that accompanies the use of certain types of systems to store coupon data.

By Nadya Astam

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