Multinational financial services corporation Mastercard has won patent rights to a blockchain partitioning method that would make storing multiple forms of cryptocurrency on a singular blockchain possible.

Why is this so significant?

As explained in Mastercard’s application, all established blockchain systems require each block to maintain data of the same format, type, and sometimes size. This is what makes blockchains incapable of supporting different cryptocurrencies or combining permissioned and open access data on the same chain.

Operating multiple blockchains at once to manage this data uses what is described in the document as a ”significant” amount of resources and computing power.

Mastercard’s application

What Mastercard proposes in its patent filing, is a blockchain that can be divided into a plurality of separate sects that manage these opposing data sets, dubbed ”subnets”. The document notes that the transaction records of each of the subnets are capable of differing in format and allowing different cryptocurrencies to be transacted.

Each completed block would be stamped with a hash code that applies to all of the transactions. This new blockchain system is described by Mastercard as ”more robust” with a ”greater utility” than those currently being utilized.

Its implication

One of the issues pointed to in the debate over how to expand cryptocurrency users is the need to improve accessibility and ease of use. If different cryptocurrencies can be transacted on a singular blockchain, more investors may be encouraged to purchase a variety of tokens, as one specific token no longer requires as many areas in which it can be used.

The issue of this fragmented ecosystem has been discussed by the Vice President of Cobinhood, Hsuan Lee. With so many blockchains established with no protocol to communicate with each other, their overall effectiveness suffers. He framed the predicament in terms of social media: ”Can you imagine using Facebook if you only have five friends on the platform? It’s not very useful.”

The US Patent and Trademark Office published the approved application from Mastercard Tuesday. It was first filed in July 2016.

 

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