While MasterCard has previously explored blockchain technology to collect data from individuals and store them securely, the worldwide payments processor has today been granted a patent for a method that manages ‘fractional reserves of blockchain currency.’
The filing details a means of storing both accounts liked to fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies, and elaborates MasterCard’s view that leveraging systems already in place for handling fiat payments could promote the adoption of digital currencies.
It remains unclear, however, if the system would leverage its own blockchain in order to securely manage and record the flow of funds. In an interview with CNBC, MasterCard’s Senior Vice President for Communications – Seth Eisen – quipped that “we’re consistently looking at ways to bring new thinking and new innovations to market to create value for us and our customers and cardholders. Patent applications are part of that process, taking steps to protect the company’s intellectual property, whether or not the idea ever comes to market.”
In a previous patent, MasterCard elaborated on its interest in blockchain technology and the “disclosure relates to the storage and verification and identity and credential data” with special use of distributed storage “for protection of identity and credential data and the verification thereof.”
The news is slightly jarring for the fact that the company has previously gone on record to state that while it is open to the use of digital currencies, it would not support anything less than a state cryptocurrency and would not support a decentralized digital currency.
MasterCard’s Blockchain API – introduced in October last year – has been designed to support business-to-business transactions.
At the time, Chaiti Sen, MasterCard’s Director of Product Communications, confirmed that the company’s Blockchain API will complement the firm’s existing technologies such as virtual cards, MasterCard Send, and Vocalink with the view of supporting cross-border business-to-business transactions.