Mastercard Applies for Patent on Blockchain Coupon Authentication

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Large institutions and multinational corporations are scrambling to acquire intellectual property, and Mastercard has submitted a new patent application for a new method of verifying coupon authenticity using blockchain technology.

The application that was filed on November 29, 2016 is titled, “Method and System for Authentication of Coupons vis Blockchain” and was published on May 31, 2018 by the USPTO. The application includes a method for storing transaction data for a payment transaction, which includes the transaction amount, a unique identifier, coupon data, a coupon identifier and other data stored on a blockchain. With this method, a query is executed on the received block of data to identify a transaction and its associated coupons. In this way, Mastercard looks to “directly associate a coupon with a transaction account, to ensure that only the specified transaction account is eligible to redeem the coupon.”

Mastercard looks to resolve problems related to resource-intensive applications that are subject to data manipulation. They have specified that a front-end application must be utilized as a consumer interface for the data, which would enable people to review their transaction accounts.

Using this system, unique, non-transferrable coupons may be issued to individuals. This method has a number of use cases, particularly with issuing and redeeming gift cards. Additionally, the patent application follows suit with the real identity trend that addresses KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) regulatory requirements.

It seems likely that Mastercard has a real-world plan to put this technology to use. Recently, the company has been investing in internal blockchain development. In April, they announced that they would hire 175 new technology developers, including blockchain specialists, software engineers, data scientists, project managers, analysts, product designers, cloud infrastructure specialists and information security experts. These developers would work out of their Ireland facility in Leopardstown, Dublin, in conjunction with Mastercard Labs, the company’s R&D branch.

According to Sonya Geelon, Mastercard Ireland’s county manager, “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.”

Mastercard is not the first major company to file a blockchain patent application. In the past week, Intel filed a patent to verify blockchain transactions. In that filing, Intel described a method for automating the verification of a block record on a digital ledger. A few weeks prior, the Winklevoss twins and Gemini were awarded a patent on ETP settlements for cryptocurrencies. This patent covered “systems, methods, and program products for operating exchange-traded products holding digital math-based assets.”

This is also not the only blockchain patent application to come out of Mastercard. A May 3rd patent application was titled, “Method and System for Net Settlement by Use of Cryptographic Promissory Notes Issued on a Blockchain.” Methods included receiving authorization requests for payment transactions where the requests are based on one or more standards that include a number of data elements and the generation of promissory notes. Altogether, it appears that Mastercard has 58 patent applications in process that pertain to blockchain technology.

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