A new patent application from Mastercard suggests that the payments giant is eyeing blockchain as part of a way to verify the authenticity of consumer coupons.
The application for a "Method and System for Authentication of Coupons via Blockchain" was published on May 31 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It envisions utilizing the tech "specifically [for] the storage of coupon data in a blockchain to ensure redemption only by authorized individuals and immutability of coupon data."
The idea is that blockchain can help reduce the risk of data manipulation that accompanies the use of certain types of systems for storing coupon data, including those that "have been developed that directly associate a coupon with a transaction account, to ensure that only the specified transaction account is eligible to redeem the coupon."
As Mastercard goes on to write:
"Thus, there is a need for a technological solution whereby coupons can be issued to an individual for redemption only by the individual, and where the system relies on a publicly accessible data source to enable implementation without the use of additional resources for the issuing entity," the company noted.
Whether an actual service offering comes out of the patent application remains to be seen – and Mastercard itself is no stranger to intellectual property bids related to the tech. That focus on authentication has been seen in other patent applications, including one focused on the prevention of fake identity use.
What is known, however, is that Mastercard has moved in recent months to beef up its internal blockchain-related development resources as part of a wider technology play.
"We're driving projects that promote financial inclusion at home and abroad, and are working to provide consumers, businesses and governments with the most innovative, safe and secure ways to pay," Sonya Geelon, Mastercard Ireland's country manager, said in April.
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