A recent patent filing which has been submitted and awarded to Mastercard has been published on 9th October by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The patented technology is a partitioned blockchain capable of storing many different types and formats of transactions.
This system is radically different from traditional blockchains which — according to the document — often require not only the data to be of the same format and type but even to be of the same size.
A consequence of such lack of flexibility is that often those that need to store and send different types of data need to interact with multiple blockchains, and Mastercard claims that this leads to the unnecessary consumption of significant resources.
The “partitioned blockchain” proposed by the patent is trying to solve this problem by creating “subnets” — this is how the patent refers to the “partitions” — that are internally consistent but exist in a wider ecosystem of one blockchain.
The patent explains by giving an example of possible use of such a system:
“a partitioned blockchain may include transaction records for three different subnets, where the transaction records associated with each respective subnet may be formatted differently and may involve the transfer of a different cryptographic currency as associated with each subnet.”
Not the first MasterCard blockchain-related patent
Mastercard has already shown significant interest in blockchain in the past partly by applying numerous patents related to the technology in question.
Among the patents awarded to MasterCard, there is one for a system linking blockchain to FIAT accounts, one to speed-up the activation of new nodes that join the network and one for a blockchain system for storing and verifying identity data.
Heavily investing in blockchain-related research and development is a smart step by MasterCard. Payment processing is arguably one of the industries that are most prone to be disrupted by the blockchain. Payment processors could be the intermediaries of a system that’s about to be disintermediated.
Acting accordingly to the old proverb “if you can’t beat them, join them” is often the best choice when your business model is in the danger of being disrupted. Kodak, used to bring most of its revenues from film production, so they didn’t invest in digital cameras, nobody wants to repeat their mistake.