Mastercard has been granted a patent that grants it rights for a method for "managing fractional reserves of blockchain currency."
With Mastercard's latest patent, we're getting closer to using our cryptocurrency credit cards to purchase goods. According to the filing, the method addresses the storing of both fiat and cryptocurrencies under one profile. This means, as a user, you'd have two linked accounts with your bank -- one for your fiat wealth, and one for crypto.
In the document, Mastercard justifies the patent explaining how users have increasingly preferred cryptocurrencies to fiat currencies due to its anonymity. The company believes some consumers have chosen digital currencies in an effort to prevent fraud.
However, Mastercard argues cryptocurrencies ensure very little protection to the receivers of funds. While traditional fiat payments are processed in a matter of seconds, crypto transactions can sometimes take as long as ten minutes. If you're trying to pay with cryptocurrencies at a retail store, for example, that delayed confirmation can be an issue.
Additional, the document states people are taken aback by cryptocurrencies and the blockchain because they're so different from traditional payment methods. For that reason, combining systems already in place for fiat currencies with the digital assets could potentially promote adoption while retaining the benefits of decentralization.
While in theory, it all makes sense, as it usually happens with patents, it's not completely clear what Mastercard intends to do. There is no mention of whether this system would be supported by a blockchain of its own, for instance.
In an email to CNBC, Seth Eisen, Mastercard's senior vice president for communications, said:
"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."
Apart from its convenience to masses, combining traditional payment systems with cryptocurrencies will help combat fraud, Mastercard explained. Hypothetically, the system would use existing fraud and risk algorithms to assess the legitimacy of cryptocurrency transactions while giving the digital assets permission to access the information they couldn't before -- such as credit bureau data, historical fiat transaction data, or demographic information.
This is just another patent added to Mastercard's long list of blockchain-based solutions. Just last month, CCN reported two patents for the banking company -- one for anonymous blockchain transactions, and another for a blockchain travel itinerary bidding system. As Eisen stated, these could be just Mastercard's efforts to secure as many systems and processes as possible without any real plans to develop them in the near future.
Featured image from Shutterstock.