Mastercard, the second-biggest payments multinational in the world after Visa, has revealed a set of three blockchain APIs in its developer site.
The offering of its own blockchain solution can be seen as Mastercard’s attempt to get ahead of the burgeoning pack of blockchain developers across the financial landscape.
The credit card giant showcases three API offerings. Its ‘Blockchain Core API’ provides a toolkit for adopters and users to run their own nodes while administrating participants in a blockchain network. The Smart Contracts API allows developers to write custom scripts using the language devised by the payments processor.
Aptly named ‘Fast Pay Network API’, Mastercard’s blockchain APIs will also mean real-time settlements. The offering could also mean an end to chargebacks, a scrouge of the credit card services industry, with its real-time reconciliation feature.
The APIs are listed under the “New and Experimental” category of Mastercard’s developers’ website.
An excerpt from its blockchain API offering reads:
Mastercard Blockchain facilitates new commerce opportunities for the digital transfer of value by allowing businesses and financial institutions to transact on a distributed ledger.
Mastercard’s interest in blockchain initiatives has seen notable endeavors in the past, perhaps most pertinently with its investment in prolific bitcoin and blockchain investor Digital Currency Group. Contrary to its obvious interest in bitcoin’s underlying technology, the company’s innovation chief stated that it did not want to be “blindsided” by blockchain technology, the most prominent buzzword of the Fintech industry.
However, come June 2016, Mastercard International President Ann Cairns revealed that the payments company was already experimenting with use cases of blockchain technology with attempts to implement it into Mastercard’s core systems. Last month, another Mastercard senior executive weighed in. Rob Reeg, president for operations and technology at Mastercard revealed that a private blockchain was in the works, unlike the public bitcoin blockchain.
Reed, who stated “I personally don’t care about Bitcoin, but I do care about blockchain technology”, added:
For [a] company like us, while managing people’s money and information, [the] security aspect of blockchain is [a] little bit daunting. The idea behind blockchain is unregulated power, but that is never going to be a first choice when the security is [of] concern.
While details of the APIs themselves are currently scarce, the effort is Mastercard’s most obvious foray with the technology since its condemnation for bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that uses the biggest and longest-running public blockchain which hasn’t seen a compromise yet.
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