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On Dec. 13, 2017, 6:25 a.m.
Mastercard opens up access to its blockchain API platform for developers. Mastercard Blockchain facilitates new commerce opportunities for the digital transfer of value by allowing businesses and financial institutions to transact on a distributed ledger. The technology can power multiple use cases and can help take time, cost and risk out of financial flows. Here are some examples from the Mastercard website:Proof of provenance
The cost of fraudulent goods is worth $1.4 Trillion globally. Leverage the Mastercard Blockchain and Authorization Network to easily track high value pharmaceuticals, art, luxury goods as they are created, transferred, purchased and re-sold. For example, use a Mastercard plastic card with a standard payment terminal to record that the asset arrived at a location on the Blockchain.Vehicle service history
Using the privacy feature of the Mastercard Blockchain, enable vehicle owners and authorized dealers to share vehicle information with each other privately in order to facilitate the payment. For example, an owner gets their car serviced, the garage writes details about the service (odometer reading, service type) to the Blockchain. With the Mastercard Blockchain, only the participating parties can see these details. When ownership is transferred to a new party, they can now see the entire service history.P2P
The Person-to-Person global market opportunity is $16 Trillion. Take advantage of the Mastercard Settlement Network to transfer funds between banks. For example, when two parties agree to transfer funds they write a settlement request to the Blockchain. The Mastercard Settlement Network reads the Blockchain and will transfer the funds between two banks. It then writes a confirmation of transfer to the Mastercard Blockchain.
Initially three provisional blockchain APIs are available to developers:
- Blockchain Core API: Run your own blockchain nodes, define your own transaction types, and manage your participation in a blockchain network.
- Smart Contracts API: Write custom scripts using Mastercard’s Smart Contract language for use in your custom blockchain applications.
- Fast Pay Network API: Understand your instantaneous net position, do real-time reconciliation, execute settlement and generate your own custom reports.
The company says it has now tested and validated its permissioned ledger and will initially implement the technology in the business-to-business (B2B) space to address challenges of speed, transparency and costs in cross-border payments. The platform has been engineered to address non-card payment transaction such as B2B payments and trade finance transactions complemented by built-in proof-of-provenance to authenticate products across the supply chain.
The Mastercard blockchain technology will complement the company’s existing capabilities including virtual cards, Mastercard Send and Vocalink to support all types of cross-border, B2B payment flows – account-based, blockchain-based and card-based.
There are four key differentiators of the Mastercard blockchain – privacy, flexibility, scalability, and most importantly, the reach of the company’s settlement network.
- Privacy – Mastercard blockchain provides privacy by ensuring that transaction details are shared only amongst the participants of a transaction while maintaining a fully auditable and valid ledger of transactions.
- Flexibility – Partners can use the blockchain APIs in conjunction with a wider suite of Mastercard APIs to create a range of powerful, new applications. Software development kits are available in six different languages to make the APIs even easier to integrate.
- Scalability – Mastercard blockchain is designed for commercial processing speed and extensibility by reaching consensus between a trusted network moderator and network participants.
- Reach – Mastercard blockchain is integrated into the company’s payment network that includes 22,000 financial institutions to move funds that have been committed on the blockchain.
Mastercard blockchain solution has the ability to power secure and seamless non-card payment transactions such as business-to-business payments and trade finance transactions. It also has the ability to power non- payment solutions such as proof of provenance that helps authenticate products across the supply chain.
With this proprietary solution, Mastercard hopes to create new benefits for its partners and make the commerce ecosystem easier, faster and safer. In addition to building a new solution, the company has also filed for over 35 patents in blockchain and invested in Digital Currency Group, a collaborator that builds, incubates and seeds Bitcoin and blockchain technology-related companies. It recently joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance to explore the possibilities of the Ethereum technology across a wide range of potential use cases, many of them well outside the scope of Mastercard’s traditional payments environment. In addition, Mastercard is also working on new use cases with startups that are a part of its Start Path Global program.
With a financial giant like MasterCard betting on blockchain, previous predictions by experts seem to be coming true. Blockchain is changing the way we do things — particularly financial transactions. Recently, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation opened up a payment platform that caters to those without access to traditional financial services. The blockchain revolution, however, is definitely not limited to just the world of finance. Industries like healthcare, aviation, energy, diplomacy, and education are also exploring blockchain solutions to fit their needs. There is even the possibility of a new internet powered by blockchain.
In short, in the age of information, a secure yet easily trackable method of keeping tabs on data is in high demand — especially with recent hacks and security breeches. Blockchain solutions might just be what the world needs.
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