Mastercard Eyes Blockchain for Fighting Fake Identities

Mastercard Eyes Blockchain for Fighting Fake Identities

A recently published patent filing from Mastercard implies that the payments monster is looking at blockchain as a way to safeguard personality data.

In an application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) last Thursday, Mastercard details a system in which a semi-private or private blockchain would be used to receive and collect identity data, the pieces of which could include a "name, a street address, tax identification number" and many more.

The company says in the filing, which was formally submitted in September 2017, that the tech could improve it blocks the use of fake identity data within its systems.

Mastercard writes:

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

The filing reveals that the system would generate a "data file" for each entity, which would be connected with a public key and a "geographic jurisdiction." These things would be "subordinate," while a "superior" entity would require a digital signature on their data files. A "hashing module of the processing server" would consequently generate an "identity value" for each item and create a block with a timestamp and a record of the most modern block attached to the blockchain.

Unlike a public blockchain, Mastercard's recommended network would only allow some nodes to submit data. These allowed nodes would act to "prevent the increase of data that may compromise the efficiency of the data stored therein," per to the application.

Put more clearly, the Mastercard-approved nodes are the only ones that can refresh the identity information within the system. And according to Mastercard, the recommended system could replace other means of establishing an identity that may be susceptible to fabrication and inaccuracies.

As the company notes:

"In such situations, it may be difficult for an entity to deny a false identity, leading to an interaction with an inauthentic individual or item. Thus, there is a requirement for a technical solution to provide for the immutable storage of identity and credential data that may prevent invention and inaccuracies."

Mastercard has offered several blockchain-related patent applications to date. One filing envisioned an infrastructure that could help refund services for cryptocurrency users. Another filing reported a blockchain-based database that could immediately process payments, thus significantly reducing transaction settlement times.

In appreciation to the intellectual property plays, Mastercard is running to beef up its internal blockchain talent as well.

The payments tech company stated last week that it was hiring 175 new technology developers, including blockchain professionals, to work out of an office in Ireland.

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