Mastercard Eyes Blockchain For B2B            

Patent filings have been in blockchain-related news, and Mastercard has filed applications that target B2B transactions and data flow. Elsewhere, LG Uplus is trialing blockchain for cross-border payments done via mobile conduits.

Blockchain has been receiving attention well beyond cryptocurrencies, and the focus has shifted in part to patent filings. Though it may seem that China has dominated patent filing activity in recent weeks, a number of firms (not Alibaba) have been making their own way across the patent landscape.

In the latest news germane to intellectual property and blockchain, Mastercard has filed three patent applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as reported this week. Amid those patent filings came details that the payments giant has developed a blockchain-based system, which aims to streamline high-volume B2B transactions. The patents are titled “Method and System for Recording Point-to-Point Transaction Processing.”

In those filings, Mastercard noted that the infrastructure underpinning B2B payments is unwieldy and still focuses on individual payment transactions. The number of transactions/settlements is on the rise, though, and there is strain on current infrastructure. The company’s embrace of digital ledger technology (DLT) can help data related to those transactions to be stored and used securely.

Recent news also follows earlier patent activity, where Mastercard patent filings seek to utilize digital signatures in signing blockchain transactions. In more patent activity in July, Mastercard filed a patent application that had been titled “Blockchain-Based Asset Bonding System to Fiat Currency Accounts,” which would pave the way for bitcoin transactions on credit cards.

Carrying Blockchain Into The Carrier Space

In other individual company initiatives, LG Uplus is in the planning stages of trialing cross-border blockchain payment solutions that would be tied to its cellular division. As noted in reports via CoinDesk, the company will bring to market a solution that focuses on cross-border payments. As The Korea Times reported this week, LG Uplus has joined with partners across the United States, Taiwan and Japan to bring about the payments service, slated to start at the beginning of 2019.

The payments service is to be based on a cross-carrier platform known as the cross-carrier payment system (CCPS). The Times reported that the service will, ultimately, allow subscribers of one carrier to complete transactions across another carrier. In terms of transactions, LG Uplus subscribers may buy items at various retailers as they travel abroad, which will be billed and paid in the subscriber’s home currency. Prompt settlement, the firms said, can help reduce exposure to currency fluctuations.

LG Uplus has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) as of last week with Taiwan-based Far EasTone Telecommunications and Japan-based SoftBank. The blockchain platform will be provided by TBCASoft.

In terms of regulation and cross-border efforts, Switzerland and Israel have agreed to share insight into the regulation of blockchain, with the initiative confirmed by “high-ranking officials.” Switzerland’s Minister of Finance Ueli Maurer and State Secretary for International Financial Matters Jörg Gasser have recently visited Israel for that initiative. They said that a report will be forthcoming about blockchain regulation, and delivered to the Israelis, which will offer what has been termed “general recommendations.” That, in turn, may be adopted by Israel and go into effect in 2020.

The details to be shared may span FinTech and cryptocurrency initiatives, as well as insight on how to combat money laundering. Switzerland, noted reports, has been integrating blockchain across several verticals and “has established a so-called Crypto Valley, located in the canton of Zug, where different blockchain solutions are being developed.” That includes voting activities, as financial institutions have been embracing blockchain startups, offering bank accounts to those companies, as well.