Mastercard has won a patent for a system that can store multiple types of transaction data on a single blockchain, which could make such a system capable of supporting multiple currencies.
Currently, blockchains can only store transaction data of one “currency” such as Bitcoin (BTC) or Monero (XMR). Mastercard’s new patent describes a system that could have handled transaction data for both Bitcoin and Monero.
Patent Describes New Block Generation Method
Mastercard claims that its new patented system has been made possible with a new block generation method on permissioned blockchains. Each specific block could contain a specific type of transaction data. This system would supposedly save processing power when compared to the resources needed to maintain multiple blockchains. The patent documentation states:
“There is a need for a technological solution to provide a partitioned blockchain that is capable of storing multiple transaction formats and types in a single blockchain, reducing the computing resources and processing power required for deployment and operation of the blockchain, while also providing for enhanced usage of permissions for permissioned blockchains.”
The patent also states that each type of transaction data could originate from a distinct grouping of devices on a network, dubbed a “subnet.” Subnets are normally used as a way to manage network resources by partitioning them in accordance with the department that will be using the devices on each subnet. In the context of Mastercard’s new patent, subnets could be used to partition a blockchain and the nodes on each subnet could hold information on a different type of transaction data.
New Patent Part of Corporate Patenting Blitz
This new patent is the latest in a list of blockchain-based applications that have been patented by corporations or have “patent pending” status. Earlier this year, Mastercard also won a patent to speed up cryptocurrency payments. UK-based Barclays Bank has filed for U.S. patents describing blockchain-based systems for Secure Digital Data Operations and Data Validation and Storage. Walmart has also gotten into the act by filing for a patent describing a blockchain-based drone delivery system.
This demonstrates a widespread corporate interest in blockchain that follows many major corporations’ plans to ignore and/or vilifying cryptocurrencies and blockchain for their first few years of existence. Corporations may be filing these patents in strategic attempts to monopolize promising applications for blockchain. This can make patent laws a controversial topic in the crypto world and patents have been criticized as an “illegitimate government-granted monopoly” by influencers like Roger Ver, the CEO of Bitcoin.com.
These corporations may claim that monopolizing the more promising uses for blockchain is fine, but that does not change the fact that corporations can usually afford better lawyers than most people. This will likely have the effect of turning large corporations like Mastercard, Barclays, and Walmart into patent trolls. The system described by Mastercard’s new patent may be an interesting one, but the actual use of that system is likely to be curtailed by Mastercard’s new monopoly on that system.