MasterCard Employees Seek Blockchain Transaction Anonymity Patent
Payments giant MasterCard seems to have found a way to keep transactions completely anonymous over the blockchain. On Thursday, three employees of the company, Ajay Nehra, Ankur Arora and Shashank Trivedi, filed a request with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Based in Gurugram, a innovation and financial center outside New Delhi, the executives claim that its latest method will completely anonymize blockchain dealings. This is done by an intermediary. For example, someone holding Bitcoin would not transmit it straight to another user as it is completed presently.
They transfer their Bitcoin instead to an intermediary. The intermediary generates a new transaction with the details of the person the user wants to pay and sends the money to the final destination. Blockchain anonymity may seem like an oxymoron to many. After all, a user’s ability to trade via a public key and not its name is part of the power and appeal of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
True, this public key is visible to anyone who runs through the Bitcoin blockchain that is publicly available, but it only appears as a number series. The three MasterCard employees claim in their patent application that these data can actually be used to identify someone.
There are merits to this claim, but it is also true that a user’s mitigating steps could make it almost impossible for someone to figure out who they are. It may be the technical ineptitude of this author, but it would also seem that a deal could be traced by simply looking at how much one user sent to the intermediary and who the intermediary sent the equivalent amount.
In any case, it might be interesting to see if such a system can be used as a solution. By aggregating a large number of transactions, such a broker could probably see who owes who and the number of transactions to be made.