MasterCard looking to use blockchain for identity checks

A new patent filing from MasterCard shows the firm is looking into blockchain technology.

The payments giant is looking into the tech behind cryptocurrency as a way to safeguard identity data.

The application was made public by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) last Thursday.

MasterCard describes using a private blockchain to transfer and store users identity data.

The information could include “name, a street address, tax identification number” and more, according to the patent.

In the September 2017 filing, the company states the technology would help to detect and block fake identity data, saying:


“The use of a blockchain for the storage of identity and credential data may provide for an immutable storage of such data that can provide an accurate verification thereof and also prevent the fabrication of such data.”

MasterCard explains that, for each entity, the system would generate a “data file.”

The data would then be checked against a “geographic jurisdiction” with a public key.

MasterCard’s network would only permit specific nodes to submit data, unlike a public blockchain.

Through authorization, these nodes would act to “prevent the addition of data that may compromise the accuracy of the data stored therein.”

Therefore, the only way to update the identity information within the system will be via The Mastercard-approved nodes, to put it simply.

The proposed system could likely replace other methods of proving identity which are open to inaccuracies and fabrication.

As MasterCard notes:

“In such instances, it may be difficult for an entity to disprove a false identity, leading to an interaction with an inauthentic individual or entity.

Thus, there is a need for a technical solution to provide for the immutable storage of identity and credential data that may prevent fabrication and inaccuracies.”

The future of blockchain

Mastercard has been filing several blockchain-related patent applications recently.

One filing was describing an infrastructure that could facilitate automatic refunds for cryptocurrency users.

In another filing, MasterCard was describing a blockchain-based database that could process payments instantly.

This method would significantly reduce transaction settlement times.

Aside from the intellectual property moves, MasterCard is also expanding its internal blockchain talent.

Last week, the global payments firm announced that it was hiring 175 new technology developers.

New additions to its development team are to include blockchain specialists, to work out of an office in Ireland.

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