A patent application filed by American Express (Amex) Travel Related Services Co. Inc. was recently published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and indicates that the company may use a blockchain database as part of a consumer rewards program.
Language from the patent application shows that the innovation revolves around gathering customer data analytics, such as spending trends, which Amex will use to offer incentivized rewards. According to the patent, certain account holders would be eligible for "value added offers" which may involve "virtual currency."
Regarding the use of a blockchain system, the document implies that the databases that would be utilized to deliver this system might be blockchain-backed. It goes on to state:
"The blockchain structure may include a distributed database that maintains a growing list of data records. The blockchain may provide enhanced security because each block may hold individual transactions and the results of any blockchain executables. Each block may contain a timestamp and a link to a previous block. Blocks may be linked because each block may include the hash of the prior block in the blockchain. The linked blocks form a chain, with only one successor block allowed to link to one other predecessor block."
Amex's inclusion of the blockchain system in its patent application may be yet another strong signal that major corporations are actively seeking to integrate the technology into their infrastructures for providing goods and services.