Mastercard may be looking to integrate blockchain into its payments infrastructure.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a new application from the financial giant this week that outlines a solution for a "uniform settlement system" – one that would help ease some of the friction involved with business-to-business payments. Specific issues cited in the application include growing data storage demands and the overall volume of transactions.
Notably, Mastercard suggests in the text that such a system could include a blockchain-based ledger of transactions.
As the application explains:
"In some embodiments, the ledger may be a blockchain configured to store the associated data. ... In the system, the data values may include the purchase orders, invoices, transaction data, and other data stored in the ledger as discussed herein."
Mastercard clarified that the blockchain would be able to automatically note all changes made to the ledger, creating a verifiable and immutable record of all data. As a result, malicious users would be unable to modify transactions in the system.
The entry represents the latest intellectual property play by Mastercard that invokes blockchain, in a series of applications that goes back to 2014. Most recently, in August, the USPTO published an application related to cryptocurrency-based refunds.
Disclosure: MasterCard is an investor in CoinDesk's parent company, Digital Currency Group.
Mastercard image via Shutterstock