ALTCOIN, BLOCKCHAIN

Mastercard, R3 Partner to Develop New Blockchain Cross-Border Payments Solution

Mastercard and R3 have announced a strategic partnership to develop and pilot a new blockchain-enabled cross-border payments solution that will initially focus on connecting global faster payments infrastructures, schemes and banks supported by a clearing and settlement network operated by Mastercard.

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Earlier this year, Mastercard strengthened its cross-border network reach with its acquisition of Transfast.

Today’s announcement complements the company’s formidable capabilities by providing access to R3’s Corda ecosystem, which includes more than 300 of the world’s leading financial services firms, technology companies, central banks, regulators and trade associations.

Peter Klein
Peter Klein

“Developing a new and better cross-border B2B payments solution by improving worldwide connectivity in the account-to-account space is central to Mastercard’s ambition,” said Peter Klein, executive vice president of New Payment Platforms for Mastercard.

“Our goal is to deliver global payment infrastructure choice and connectivity as demonstrated through our recent strategic acquisitions and partnerships, including our relationship with R3. It confirms our commitment to innovation, both home-grown and through partnerships and acquisitions, to support advances and innovation in the increasingly complex global payment infrastructure space.”

The partnership is the latest step in Mastercard’s multi-rail strategy, providing customers with unrivalled choice in how they move money.

By combining R3’s expertise in blockchain with Mastercard’s existing payment systems assets, brand and distribution, the partnership will provide increasingly innovative, value add services for customers, addressing factors such as high processing overheads, liquidity management and the existing lack of standardization and processes between banks and domestic clearing systems.

David Rutter
David Rutter

“We are excited to partner with Mastercard to help shape the future of the digital payments ecosystem,” said David E. Rutter.

“All institutions – large or small – rely on the ability to send and receive payments, but all too often the technology they rely upon is cumbersome and expensive. Cross-border payments can be a particular pain point. Corda was designed specifically for enterprise use cases such as this, and we look forward supporting Mastercard in bringing blockchain-enabled payments businesses across the globe.”

R3 is an enterprise blockchain software firm working with a global ecosystem of more than 300 participants across multiple industries from both the private and public sectors to develop on Corda, its open-source blockchain platform, and Corda Enterprise, a commercial version of Corda for enterprise usage.

R3’s global team of over 200 professionals in 13 countries is supported by over 2,000 technology, financial, and legal experts drawn from its vibrant ecosystem.

The Corda platform is already being used in industries from financial services to healthcare, shipping, insurance and more. It records, manages and executes institutions’ financial agreements in perfect synchrony with their peers, creating a world of frictionless commerce.

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BLOCKCHAIN

MasterCard to Utilize Blockchain Technology to Secure, Verify Private Customer Data

MasterCard is planning on utilizing blockchain technology to store private customer data, as well as to verify customer data. The payment giant filed a patent with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on April 12.

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“Traditionally, proof [of identity] has been provided via government identification, credit cards, business cards…[such] proof may be inaccurate… or may be entirely fabricated in ways that may be difficult to identify… there is a need for a technical solution to provide for the immutable storage of identity and credential data,” the documents states.

The company frameworks some of the finite details of the project, including statements regarding only allowing permitted nodes to submit and update system data.

Rather than a public blockchain ledger, which is commonly seen, the company wants to implement a private resolution.

Approved nodes would necessitate each account to specify a public key and a physical prerogative to access a data file.

These “subordinate” persons would be allotted to a digital signature by a “superior” body. A “hashing module” of MasterCard’s managing server would produce an “identity value” for the account creating a timestamped block, with proof of the most current block added to the blockchain.

The company states the purpose of this is to “maintain a continuously growing list of data records hardened against tampering and revision.”

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BLOCKCHAIN

Mastercard Opens Blockchain API for Banks, Merchants

NEW YORK – Mastercard announced that it will be opening up access to its blockchain technology via its API published on Mastercard Developers.

“By combining Mastercard blockchain technology with our settlement network and associated network rules, we have created a solution that is safe, secure, auditable and easy to scale,” said Ken Moore, executive vice president, Mastercard Labs.

“When it comes to payments, we want to provide choice and flexibility to our partners where they are able to seamlessly use both our existing and new payment rails based on the needs and requirements of their customers.”

Mastercard’s blockchain solution provides a new way for consumers, businesses and banks to transact and is key to the company’s strategy to provide payment solutions that meet every need of financial institutions and their end-customers.

The Mastercard blockchain API will be part of the Money 20/20 hackathon in Las Vegas next week.

The company has tested and validated its blockchain 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 Mastercard blockchain technology will complement the company’s existing capabilities including virtual cardsMastercard 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.

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ABOOUT MASTERCARD:

Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry.  We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.  Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.  Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

BITCOIN, BLOCKCHAIN

Mastercard CEO Denounces Bitcoin Calling It ‘Junk’

Ajay Banga, CEO of Mastercard, has publicly denounced cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, calling them “junk” if they lack government backing.

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“If the government creates digital currency, we will find a way to be in the game. We will provide rails for moving currency from customer to merchant. The government mandated digital currencies are interesting. Non-government mandated currency is junk,” Banga said.

Billionaire tech investor Mark Cuban has publically declared that he sees Bitcoin and Blockchain or distributed ledger technology as the way of the future.
Billionaire tech investor Mark Cuban has publically declared that he sees Bitcoin and Blockchain or distributed ledger technology as the way of the future.

Banga continued criticizing bitcoin for being volatile and for its use for illegal activities citing the recent ransomware attack, “wannacry” ransomware.

“If I pay for a bottle of water in Bitcoin, one day it is two bottles for a Bitcoin the other day it is 9,000 bottles. This does not work. Any currency needs stability and transparency, otherwise you will get all the illegal activities in the world. Why was the ransom for the virus (wannacry ransomware) collected in Bitcoin? Why has China cracked down on Bitcoin?”

Brock Pierce, Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, is taking these negative comments as good things.

Brock Pierce
Brock Pierce

“When the incumbent industry is making statements like this and acknowledging you…it’s a sign that what we’re doing is working…it’s a huge validation,” said Pierce.

Numerous prominent financial industry leaders have voiced their oppositional beliefs on bitcoin.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, called bitcoin a “fraud” that is merely fitting for criminals.

Ray Dalio, head of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, claimed that cryptocurrency is a bubble.

And the “Wolf of Wall Street”, Jordan Belfort said, “Be very careful not to invest a lot of money into something that could vanish very quickly.”

Axel Weber, the former President of Bundesbank and Chairman UBS, said:

“I get often asked why I’M so skeptical about Bitcoin, it probably comes from my background as a central banker.”

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BLOCKCHAIN

MasterCard Considers Integrating Blockchain Technology

New patents published by The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) suggest MasterCard could be considering integrating blockchain within its payments infrastructure.

The patent forms a solution for a “uniform settlement system”.

In theory, this would assist in lessening some hassle complicated by business-to-business payments.

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Increasing data demands as well as the global capacity of transactions were just a few detailed problems mentioned in the request.

In the application, MasterCard hints that one technique could incorporate a blockchain ledger.

“In some embodiments, the ledger may be a blockchain configured to store the associated data. … In the system, the data values may include the purchase orders, invoices, transaction data, and other data stored in the ledger as discussed herein.”

One benefit cited by MasterCard was that malicious clients would not be able to amend any communications in the system.

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