Mastercard has filed a new patent for a technique of anonymizing transactions on a blockchain, in line with a recent application ‘revealed‘ by the USPTO [US Patent and Trademark Office].
The ‘patent‘ files focuses that ‘the use of one or a more go-between addresses to obscure the supply and destination of funds during a blockchain transaction’ are often employed in order to “increase obscurity of entities related to blockchain addresses.” The planned technical answer would entail a series of “anonymization requests” designed to anonymize the transactions themselves, instead of simply the user behind a personal digital wallet.
This new process would let the “result in showing the user solely transferring funds and receiving funds from small no. of several addresses that are also involved within a considerable large volume of transactions with numerous different users, thereby rendering the information innocuous.” Analysis of the wallet, Mastercard suggests, would so yield “little to no information” concerning the user behind the wallet.
As context, Mastercard outlines that while several “are flocking” toseveral blockchain-based crypto-currencies, like Bitcoin [BTC], for the perceived “high level” of obscurity they can offer, “the nature of the blockchain as a changeless ledger is such that each transaction can” – ultimately – “be derived and followed back to the genesis block.”
This fact, Mastercard suggests “runs counter to the the main aim of several users in employing a blockchain: obscurity.” Blockchain information can, once accumulated and analyzed, “eventually reveal the user behind a digital wallet or a least offer some data concerning them, like geographic location, interests, spending habits, etc.” The filing continues to recommend that:
“The existing communications and attribution structure of blockchain technology like Bitcoin [BTC] need identification of where the transactions are emanating and terminating, so as to maintain the ledger. This creates a technical drawback of competitory interests at intervals within the technology.”
Mastercard is by no means the the primary one to tackle the constraints of ‘obscurity‘ within blockchain systems; 2 renowned privacy-focused altcoins named Zcash [ZEC] and Monero [XMR], are already designed with similar considerations in mind.
ZEC employs Zero-knowledge proofs [ZKP] technology, a formula for authenticating distributed ledger entries, during which transacting parties offer proof of validity, while all the other data remains encrypted, together with their identities. Monero [XMR], meanwhile, employs concealing addresses to mask identities by allowing a sender to form a random one-time address that’s based on the dealing receiver’s revealed address.