Identity-related crimes have been on the rise lately, as thousands of people fall victim to identity theft or fraud; these crimes do not only affect one’s finances, but they could also impact healthcare claims, taxes, and even criminal records. Perhaps there is now a solution in sight…
Mastercard, a multinational financial services corporation has recently proposed a blockchain solution which it hopes will be able to tackle the proliferation of fake identities. According to Mastercard:
“Traditionally, proof [of identity]has been provided via government identification, credit cards, business cards…[such]proof may be inaccurate… or may be entirely fabricated in ways that may be difficult to identify… there is a need for a technical solution to provide for the immutable storage of identity and credential data.”
This solution comes in the form of a blockchain-based patent application which the company filed on the 12th of April, 2018. The system will utilize a number of components in its operation on the blockchain network. First of all, a data file for each entity (e.g. individual or company) will be created; the data file will include a public key, credential attributes about the entity, and a geographic jurisdiction. These entities will remain in a state of subordination to a master entity that will have the ability to impose digital signatures on their data files.
An identity value for each entity will be generated by the hashing module of the processing server. Also, a timestamp indicating the record of the most recent block added to the blockchain system will be created.
In lay man’s terms, Mastercard blockchain intellectual property involves a system which utilizes the blockchain to secure and store identity data in such a way that only authorized nodes are allowed to submit and update the system’s data. It should be noted that these “authorized nodes” will be strictly controlled by Mastercard, this makes this blockchain network a private one as opposed to the commonly known public blockchain network.
By utilizing these approved nodes, Mastercard will be able to ensure that the data on the blockchain is secured against manipulation, tinkering or alteration.
This new patent isn’t Mastercard’s first blockchain rodeo; In October 2017, the company announced a new payment system it was working on, something that will function based on blockchain tech. This project was aimed at using the blockchain to power Business-to-business (B2B) transactions; tackling issues with cross-border payments, including problems with speed, transparency, and costs. The project is still in the works, and Mastercard has stated that it is looking for partners to help bring it to life.
The Executive Vice President of Mastercard Labs, Ken Moore, has this to say about the project:
“By combining Mastercard blockchain technology with our settlement network and associated network rules, we have created a solution that is safe, secure, audit-able and easy to scale. When it comes to payments, we want to provide choice and flexibility to our partners where they are able to seamlessly use both our existing and new payment rails based on the needs and requirements of their customers.”
They didn’t stop there, in November of the same year, the company filed for a blockchain related patent to handle instant payments. Mastercard touted it as a system that will rescue merchants from the endless wait for transaction verification and approval, allowing them to receive payments instantly.
Mastercard has also been on the hunt for new blockchain talent, looking to employ 175 blockchain developers and specialists. These new specialists will work on designing blockchain systems capable of making payment via the Mastercard platform more effective.
With these strides, Mastercard has proven itself to be a company that is pro-innovation and pro-blockchain. There is no doubt that it will definitely integrate some of its proposed blockchain solutions into its overall operation in the near future.