The financial services giant Mastercard was recently awarded several new blockchain patents this week – which is continuing the trend of embracing distributing ledger research – even as it expresses hostility to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
There has been one patent that is raising eyebrows lately. Awarded by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Thursday, this patent outlines a system that facilitates anonymous transactions over a blockchain network. Mastercard originally applied for it in December 2018.
According to the financial giant, the transparent nature of ordinary blockchain transactions is a hindrance to the technology and its adoption for everyday payments. This, as Mastercard says, is true for both businesses and consumers.
While individuals may want to purchase a gift for a significant other without the recipient being tipped off to the details of the transaction, businesses would not be keen on providing competitors and other third-parties with real-time data such as transaction volumes.
As the patent cites:
“Thus, there is a need for a technical solution whereby an entity may participate in a transaction where transaction details may be posted publicly to ensure accountability and trust in the data, while still providing anonymity and inability of others to track individual transactions or volume information by transaction party identifying information of both parties of a transaction to satisfy the confidentiality needs of each entity involved in the transaction.”
What’s interesting is the fact that a whole class of cryptocurrencies has made anonymous transactions their primary focus lately. The latest “privacy coins” include Monero and Zcash – not to mention the Bitcoin Lighting Network which also promises to enhance privacy.
Still, Mastercard’s goal is to accomplish these privacy payments without the use of a cryptocurrency – and in a way that would still provide law enforcement with the ability to trace illicit transactions (even though this point was not addressed in the patent).
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