MasterCard Awarded Blockchain Refunds Patent

On August 3, 2017, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a patent application developed by Enterprise Ethereum Alliance member and credit giant MasterCard, which had been filed on January 27, 2017.

The document is titled “Information Transaction Infrastructure” and inventor Vladimir Goloshchuk is credited as the sole author. According to the filing, the patent will tackle issues revolving around transactions of cryptocurrencies, and describes the advantage of offering users the ability to receive refunds in cryptocurrency. It says:

"As transactions [on a blockchain] are public and irreversible, it is challenging to achieve all the features of centralized electronic money systems – in particular, processing of refunds can be particularly challenging.

It would be desirable to achieve a virtual money infrastructure that allowed use of cryptocurrencies with a range of services comparable to that achievable with centralized electronic money systems."

MasterCard proposes that two wallets be utilized: one public facing for on-chain verified transactions and one privately facing wallet which cannot be viewed by the public. The private facing wallet is meant to integrate with a shared wallet service provider. According to the documents:

"This can be implemented by a cryptographic wallet with private keys shared between the user and the service provider (necessarily trusted by the user using this model). This allows balance transfers within the shared wallet to be executed using standard account reconciliation protocols (because the shared wallet service provider has access) rather than resource intensive block chain based verification."

The senior vice president of MasterCard’s external communications, Seth Eisen, made a statement to ETHNews:

“We’re consistently looking at ways to bring new thinking and new innovations to market to create value for us and our customers and cardholders. Patent applications are part of that process, taking steps to protect the company’s intellectual property, whether or not the idea ever comes to market.”

If this patent results in a service, it remains to be seen whether there will be mass adoption of it and how market participants will perceive a centralized entity offering refunds on a decentralized network.

Jeremy Nation is a writer living in Los Angeles with interests in technology, human rights, and cuisine. He is a full time staff writer for ETHNews and holds value in Ether.
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