On Friday (Oct. 20), Mastercard announced news that it will be opening up access to its blockchain technology through its developer’s API. Initially, the technology will be made available for B2B transactions, specifically to address the demands of cross-border payments.
Mastercard is not the only firm delving into blockchain. The company joins Google, Overstock, Citi and Goldman Sachs in embracing the distributed ledger technology.
“Big banks and financial services firms were the first corporate players to make direct blockchain investments en masse — unsurprising, given how bitcoin’s underlying technology lends itself (both technically and in popular thought) to financial services,” said CB Insights in a report. “Since mid-2014, more than 50 of the world’s major financial services institutions have invested in the sector.”
The Mastercard technology ensures that payment details are shared only between transaction participants, said the company. At the same time, the blockchain guarantees that there is “a fully auditable and valid ledger of transactions.”
The blockchain API can be used alongside other Mastercard APIs for application development. (Software development kits are available in six languages.)
The blockchain is integrated with Mastercard’s payment network, which includes 22,000 financial institutions that can be utilized to move money.
“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, EVP, 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 has filed for more than 35 patents in blockchain technology and invested in the Digital Currency Group, which incubates cryptocurrency like bitcoin and blockchain-related companies.
Additionally, the company recently joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, which connects Fortune 500 companies with FinTech startups, academics and blockchain experts. The purpose of the Alliance is to develop applications for the cryptocurrency Ethereum’s blockchain.