The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted MasterCard a patent on a "method to administer fractional reserves of blockchain currencies", which will allow linking accounts in cryptocurrencies with accounts in fiat currency. The multinational financial services company seeks to create a simpler and faster system that allows the incorporation of cryptocurrencies in a traditional payment network.
According to the document published this July 17 by the USPTO, the system is based on the use of centralized accounts, to manage fiduciary currency, on the one hand, and cryptocurrencies on the other which would be stored in a database that allows the management of multiple account profiles. Each profile would include data associated with the consumer such as: an amount in fiat currency, an amount in cryptocurrencies, an account identifier and an address. Thus, when making a transaction in the payment network, it can be managed through this profile.
In its justification, Mastercard states that, in recent times, there has been a greater use of cryptocurrencies by of consumers who value safety and the relative anonymity they provide. However, these benefits may be restricted by limitations of the chain of blocks presented in the document, such as the significant amount of time (around ten minutes) it takes to process and confirm a transaction based on a blockchain such as Bitcoin, for example. In contrast, in the fiduciary currency payment networks to which we are accustomed, processing times are measured in nanoseconds.
With its new patented system, the financial firm intends to integrate in a single service, the benefits of cryptographic currencies based on blockchain, with the agility of the payment network that, in addition, is already known and well understood by the consumer, as well as by regulatory bodies.
Seth Eisen, senior vice president of Mastercard communications, told CNBC that: