A patent by Mastercard for blockchain-based payment card verification was recently published by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which uses point-of-sale terminals to function.
This particular patent is made in an effort to prevent card skimming, a practice whereby a thief manages to steal the credentials of a payment card either by copying a radio transmission from the card’s passive NFC radio or by reading its magnetic strip.
The description of the patent submitted by Mastercard suggests that the system will require card holders to have another device on hand to further authenticate transfers, blocking whatever the card sends unless it passes this step as well.
“The user of a third party data source enables an individual to transact safely without concern for their payment credentials being skimmed from their payment instrument, or without having to even carry a payment instrument entirely. The transaction may be conducted via the display of a machine-readable code to the point of sale device, which may further prevent skimming as the reading of such a code can be more easily controlled via the control of the underlying display; the display can be easily shielded and is often obscured when in a pocket or purse,” the patent reads.
This isn’t something new, however, nor is it something that historically necessitated a blockchain to function. Banks have long used this type of authentication for their customers’ internet banking portals.
Still, the fact that this system uses a blockchain to store credential data could ease commercial transactions because they don’t need to depend on the reliability of one single point of failure.
It’s worth noting that Mastercard began stocking up on blockchain patents as early as October last year, when it rolled out an API for fiat payment processing that uses a proprietary blockchain.