Financial services provider Mastercard has filed a patent for a blockchain system to provide faster and more secure payments on their cards, according to US Patent and Trademark Office USPTO patent filing released June 7.

The patent application dubbed “Method And System For Payment Card Verification Via Blockchain” describes a public blockchain-assisted conveyance and retrieval of payment processes to verify and secure users’ information.

In the document, Mastercard noted the vulnerability of existing means of “wireless transmission of payment credentials,” claiming that they can be “subject to intercept.” By implementing a blockchain, the company aims to enable a secure way of conveying payment credentials that also involves “minimal participation by the consumer.” The recent blockchain application from Mastercard intends to solve the technical challenge of providing both security and convenience:

“Thus, there is a need for a technological solution to enable the conveyance of payment credentials to a point of sale device that requires minimal participation by the consumer, while still maintaining a high level of security, particularly against skimming.”

“Skimming” is a practice that ”enable[s] a nefarious actor to pull the payment credentials from a payment instrument, even when securely located in the consumer’s wallet or purse, or to intercept the payment credentials as they are being wirelessly transmitted to the point of sale device.”

According to the patent document, the encryption process encodes the cards information and stores it on the blockchain, after which two keys are issued, a public and a private key. When the card is used to make a purchase, a retrieval request is made, after which the system will use the keys to decode and verify the card information. 

Earlier this week, Mastercard’s vice chair Ann Cairns said at the Money20/20 conference that the company has “built a Blockchain that can run the whole [network].” She stated that the company decided to apply blockchain integration “at scale” while noting the need to identify “real use cases.” Cairns explained that firms cannot just “replace existing technology with blockchain because [they] may not create a better user experience.”



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