Mastercard has applied for a patent in pursuance of a process that is intended to allow customers make anonymous transactions on a blockchain, though the whole process is not so different from what people have been doing to make transactions anonymous over the years. In other words, the use of a middleman to obscure the source and endpoint of a specific transaction.
The content of the patent is very long and technical, as such it can’t be presented in this article in verbatim. However, the abstract of the patent is presented below:
“A method for anonymization of a blockchain transaction includes: storing a key pair comprising a private key and public key; receive an anonymization request from a computing device, the request including a destination address and transaction amount.
Transmitting an intermediate address based on the public key to the computing device; receiving one block in a blockchain, the one block being comprised of a block header and one or more transaction data values including a specific transaction data value comprised of the intermediate address and a transfer amount based on the transaction amount.
Generating a digital signature using the private key; and transmitting a new transaction data value and the digital signature to a node associated with the blockchain, the new transaction data value being comprised of the destination address and a payment amount related to the transaction amount.”
Did you find it interesting and easily understood? If not, take a look at the following excerpt to see if what they are describing here will get clearer
“…the blockchain may reflect only that the sender sent currency to the processing server and that the recipient received currency from the processing server. When using the processing server across multiple transactions, and with multiple entities using the processing server, the true source or destination for any transaction is obscured to the point of being impossible to identify.
If used for each transaction, a nefarious actor looking at the transactions for the sender will only see transfers to and from the processing server, thus revealing no information about the sender’s spending habits, thus protecting the sender’s anonymity.”
If that still isn’t clear, they’re saying basically sending a transaction (or several) to a server (that has a crypto address) which then resends the transaction(s) to the actual intended destination, thus obscuring the link between the original sender and actual intended address. If all this sounds familiar it is because it is how pretty much all crypto tumblers work, as well as the TOR network.
It is unclear if Mastercard will be awarded this patent and if so what it is they are working on. Most likely, a highly regulated medium for obscuring transactions, one that could even be applied to their customers to allow for anonymous transfers of money through official channels. Not sure how regulators would feel about that though…