Mastercard’s President of Operations & Technology, Edward Mclaughlin, spoke at length about the company’s blockchain initiatives at a recent investor conference. Edward sounds very bullish about blockchain technology, and revealed that the company has 50 to 60 blockchain patents! This is a significant increase from the January Bloomberg article stating that Mastercard has 27 blockchain patents, which already ranks it fairly high among major public companies. So either Edward really got the number wrong, or Mastercard is ramping up its blockchain investments even more aggressively than the public is aware of. Watch out IBM and Bank of America, Mastercard is trying to outdo you! Read for your self in the excerpt below!
Mastercard (MA), March 8th, 2018 Investor Conference
Edward McLaughlin, President of Operations & Technology
We think blockchain is an incredibly compelling technology and you use it for what it’s best at. And I think being able to do things like proof of provenance of goods, particularly in all the work we’ve done to fight counterfeiting and things like that, great applications. I think for things like contract management, when the bill of lading is accepted, when the transference of the goods happened in an irrefutable way, titles and deeds and things like that, all make sense.
So actually, I think there is a combinatory effect, where you can take things you can solve with blockchains and bring them together with things that you can do with the existing payment systems that are there because they are actually better adding. And that’s the engineering view point, right. Let’s look at what the capabilities the asset does and let’s see how we can apply it best to solve the real problems that are out there, not trying to use it for a natural acts where it may not be best suited.
So what we’ve done is we’ve built our own chain, I think it was October of last year we published all the APIs for it. We’ve had lots of people who are experimenting with it and using it. We’re working with several banks for things like, can we use it for better cross-border settlement and verification and what’s there, we see a lot of like you said compelling use cases where when the ownership of the good transfers and you therefore trigger a payment around it that we might want to run through the existing payment systems, that combinatory effect.
So we’ve been working with blockchain a lot and I think we have and I don’t know the number 50 or 60 patents we’ve put around ways we could use it to apply it. But when I look at things like blockchain and when I look at things like quantum, and when I look at things like the identity work, really for us it’s always a question of applied research, right. We understand deeply what it is, the blockchain we build around to have it. You open it up to allow that co-creation and experimentation should be done through our APIs. But then, you turn it around it’s not what can I do with this thing, it’s what are we trying to do and can this thing help it. And that’s the applied area of the research and we’ll look for those with ways it helps our business and we’ll use it where it does.