American multi-national financial services giant Mastercard is looking at using blockchain technology to safeguard identity information.
In an application released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Thursday, Mastercard applied for a system, which it describes using a private or semi-private blockchain for receiving and storing identity data such as name, address, tax id number and more.
According to the company the use of blockchain technology could help it weed out and block the use of fake identity data in its systems.
Mastercard writes in its application:
“The use of a blockchain for the storage of identity and credential data may provide for an immutable storage of such data that can provide an accurate verification thereof and also prevent the fabrication of such data.”
The filing gives us a clear idea of what the system is all about. The system creates a “data file” for each person, which would be associated with a public key and a “geographic jurisdiction”. Each “entity” or person would be “subordinate” to a “superior entity” that imposes a digital signature on his or her data files. Next, a “hashing module of the processing server” would then create an “identity value” for each person and create a block with a timestamp and a record of the newest block added to the blockchain.
Compared to a public blockchain, the network proposed by Mastercard would only allow authorized nodes to submit data. These nodes would then work to “prevent the addition of data that may compromise the accuracy of the data stored therein”.
Simply put, the nodes authorized by Mastercard are the only ones allowed to update the identity information within the system. According to Mastercard, the system would probably replace other identity verification methods that may be vulnerable to falsification and inaccuracies.
So far Mastercard has submitted several patent applications related to blockchain. One filing proposed an infrastructure that would enable refund services for crypto users. Another filing explains a blockchain-based database that is able to process payments instantly, reducing transaction settlement periods.
Mastercard is also stepping up its internal blockchain talent as well.
Mastercard announced last week that it will be hiring 175 new technology developers, including blockchain experts, to work in their Ireland office.