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Mastercard to fight fake identities with blockchain

Mastercard has filed a new patent, turning to blockchain as a way to safeguard identity data.

The proposed system, as described in the official application released by the US Patent and Trademark Office, would use a semi-private or private blockchain to receive and store identity data. According to Mastercard: "The use of a blockchain for the storage of identity and credential data may provide for an immutable storage of such data that can provide an accurate verification thereof and also prevent the fabrication of such data."

A new data file would be generated for each entry, which would be associated with a public key and a "geographic jurisdiction". These entities would be “subordinate”, while a digital signature would be imposed by a “superior” entity on the data files. A “hashing module of the processing server” would subsequently generate an “identity value” for each entity and create a block with a timestamp and a record of the most recent block added to the blockchain, the online publication continues. Received and stored identity data could include a "name, a street address, tax identification number".

Unlike a public blockchain, Mastercard’s proposed network would only allow certain nodes to submit data. Only these authorized nodes can update the identity information within the system. The proposed system could possibly replace other means of proving identity that may be susceptible to fabrication and inaccuracies, according to Mastercard.

In recent news, Mastercard has announced its plan to expand its presence in Ireland by hiring 175 new employees, including blockchain specialists.