More security through blockchain: MasterCard applies for a patent

A recently published MasterCard patent application indicates that the credit card giant has turned a blind eye to blockchain applications. The company wants to improve customer data protection with the latest application.

Using a semi-private or private blockchain, MasterCard wants to receive and store users’ identity data. This could include information such as name, address and tax number. This is not MasterCard’s first patent application for the blockchain. Last year, the company filed a patent application that allows payments to be processed more quickly.

The added value of the Bitcoin formula application with MasterCard

Blockchain technology could help avoid fake identities during registration. According to the patent application, the system generates one Bitcoin formula file for each unit, with a public key and the geographical area of responsibility. These child files then receive a digital signature from a parent entity. A server hashing module then generates an identity value for each unit and a block containing the record of the most recent block and a timestamp.

Unlike a public blockchain, the MasterCard network allows only certain nodes to feed data. These authorized nodes prevent the storage of data that affects the accuracy of the stored data.

A concrete use case

MasterCard would thus create a classic blockchain-use case. To put it simply, it must now be ensured that a person’s data is correct and documented only once at MasterCard. Let’s take a look at the classic use case of MasterCard: People usually use it to pay for their purchased goods in the retail trade. In a payment process that has to be faster and faster these days, the verification of the card user is quickly lost. At this point, a signature is just an arbitrarily inaccurate means of verification. A PIN can also be stolen. It should therefore be checked whether the user of the credit card is also the true owner. Using a barcode or magnetic stripe, the cashier could access the MasterCard blockchain and quickly read out owner data such as name, address, date of birth and a photo. This could help avoid the misuse of a credit card.

When shopping online, the process may look like the credit card record must match the ID card record. Here, too, the data can be compared using a barcode on the credit card or ID card.

Why not with the help of a central database?
At this point, one can also ask oneself why it is not possible to store this data in a central database. On the one hand, these are sensitive data which, on top of that, have to be stored forgery-proof. Only a blockchain can offer this protection against forgery. On the other hand, MasterCard is one of those companies that has to think globally in a world that is currently struggling with globalization. Due to political uncertainties, a central server may not be available worldwide.