Mastercard has been filing for patents again, this time looking at a technology to speed up blockchain transactions…
One of the stumbling blocks often aimed at blockchain and in turn cryptocurrencies is the low number of transactions per second that the technology can currently handle. Increasing capacity and speeding things up is clearly a key priority, and progress has been made in recent times.
It helps to a degree too that organisations with deep pockets are getting involved, and Mastercard is one of them. Whether it helps that said companies are looking to protect their investment via patents is more open to debate, of course.
Nonetheless, it’s come to light that Mastercard has filed such a patent, one that is first registered back in October 2016. It’s just been published by the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), and covers a system that would speed up the activation of new nodes in a blockchain.
From the filing:
 The fast track reference and an activated fast track flag may both be included in the block header for fast track blocks to facilitate the fast navigation of the blockchain. A node in the blockchain network, or any computing device verifying the blockchain or data included therein, may quickly navigate the blockchain by identifying blocks that have activated fast track flags. For verification, the node may identify the earlier fast track block (e.g., based on timestamp) and hash that block using the predetermined hashing algorithm(s), and then verify that the fast track reference in the more recent fast track block is the same as the hash of the earlier fast track block.
This is important, as it would dilute the need to individual verify each individual record in the chain at the same pace each time. Whether Mastercard has a particular angle on this that others don’t remains to be seen.
You can read the full filing here.
There’s an argument that it goes against the principle of cryptocurrency at least that technology and patents become part of the asset register of large organisations. Mastercard, though, has proven itself little fan of cryptocurrencies, and far more interested in blockchain. Its patent activity in this area has certainly been blockchain-centric.
As of yet, the patent application has not been approved. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more.