Three MasterCard employees, Ajay Nehra, Ankur Arora, and Shashank Trivedi have recently filed an application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a patent that reportedly makes blockchain-based transactions completely anonymous.
According to Finance Magnates, the patent claims it’ll be able to achieve anonymity by using an intermediary, meaning transactions wouldn’t be direct, but would be first sent to a user who then sends them to their final destination.
The idea is seemingly comparable to that of a bitcoin tumbler, which hides transactions on the cryptocurrency’s blockchain by sending it to various addresses and bouncing it a number of times so it isn’t traceable.
The patent further describes that it’s possible to make a transaction’s amount anonymous through the same method, as splitting it into various parts could make it untraceable, even if the ledger is public. Combining splitting the transaction and making it go through intermediaries would, per MasterCard’s patent, make it anonymous.
The Next Web notably points out that the patent uses the term “transaction” in an ambiguous way, and doesn’t mention that the system would be used for cryptocurrency transactions. The payment infrastructure provider has filed a patent to speed up cryptocurrency payments earlier this year.
Notably the organization’s CEO, Ajay Banga, bashed cryptocurrencies back in July has he claimed these were “junk.” He claimed these are used for illicit activities, just like cash, but unlike credit cards. As covered, Banga stated
I think cryptocurrency is junk. The idea of an anonymized currency produced by people who have to mine it, the value of which can fluctuate wildly - that to me is not the way that any medium of exchange deserves to be considered as a medium of exchange.
To Banga, both cash and cryptocurrencies fall behind credit cards, as these are heavily controlled and can see financial institutions control whether funds are used for illicit activities or not.