Financial services and payment processing giant MasterCard has filed a new patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office that looks to blockchain to verify the authenticity of retail consumer coupons.
According to the application, MasterCard seeks to design a “Method and System for Authentication of Coupons via Blockchain” that uses blockchain to immutably store coupon data and ensure only “authorized individuals” are able to redeem coupons, in addition to verifying the coupon’s authenticity.
The patent goes on to explain that certain retail entities associate coupons with transaction accounts, which “can be resource-intensive and subject to data manipulation.” The patent continues:
"In addition, the entity must offer a suitable interface for the consumers to access the data storage to identify what coupons have been associated with their transaction account. Thus, there is a need for a technological solution whereby coupons can be issued to an individual for redemption only by the individual, and where the system relies on a publicly accessible data source to enable implementation without the use of additional resources for the issuing entity."
Due to blockchain’s immutable ledger technology, the risk of data manipulation and counterfeiting is greatly reduced. Blockchain also gives full transparency on the transactions to all parties involved – both on the consumer and retail end.
In recent months, MasterCard has been aggressively exploring blockchain-based solutions to a number of issues. Back in April, MasterCard’s Ireland Country Manager Sonya Geelon said in a press release that the financial giant is “driving projects that promote financial inclusion at home and abroad, and are working to provide consumers, businesses and governments with the most innovative, safe and secure ways to pay.”
Last month, MasterCard filed a separate patent application for a system that safeguards identity data and prevents fraudulent transactions being completed using fake IDs, as well as another patent to improve node activation speeds.