Mastercard files patent to put credit cards on the blockchain

A new patent application filed by Mastercard to the US Patent and Trademark Office indicates that the payments giant is currently looking into the use of public blockchains to verify payment cards at the point of sale.

The application details a new conveyance and retrieval process that can verify users’ payment credentials by first encoding an image of the payment card and storing it on the blockchain with a public and private key, and then decrypting it for verification.

The document reads: “The transaction may be conducted via the display of a machine-readable code to the point of sale device, which may further prevent skimming as the reading of such a code can be more easily controlled via control of the underlying display; the display can be easily shielded and is often obscured when in a pocket or purse.”

This would theoretically make transactions on point-of-sale devies more secure, and prevent their details being ‘skimmed’.

As with any patent application that comes to light, there is not guarantee that this will result in any product or service, but it’s notable nonetheless that Mastercard is looking into blockchain technology in this way.

The company has also been exploring the idea of allowing customers to broadcast their travel itineraries and reservations to merchants via the blockchain, reports CoinDesk.