MasterCard is looking to hire 175 individuals with IT experience for a range of roles, including blockchain specialists, according to an April 12 press release.
The new employees will be based in Ireland, where MasterCard Labs, the firm's research and development arm, is headquartered. That branch of the company, along with others, will be collapsed into a single body known as the "Products and Innovation team" around the time of the hiring wave.
The team will work to develop "ground-breaking innovations in payments" by exploring AI and other technologies, in addition to blockchain.
On the day of the announcement, the US Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application by MasterCard for a "system for identity and credential protection and verification via blockchain" in which a public key would represent an "associated identity value." According to Alexei Malinovsky, the head of MasterCard's Russian Representative Office, the company has filed applications for over 30 DLT-related patents.
In late 2017, a few months after joining the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, the firm revealed that it had launched a business-facing cross-border payment service that used a distributed ledger to transmit fiat currency.
In February, it emerged that MasterCard had stopped allowing customers to buy cryptocurrencies from exchanges on credit, and had begun using cash advances to support these purchases instead.