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With the changing times, one has to change with it so as to remain relevant. It seems, credit card giant MasterCard has taken a cue from this line of thought.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently published four applications filed by the credit card company relating to its work with the nowadays in trend blockchain and distributed ledger technology.

Published on 24th of last month, all the four applications published lay their focus essentially on transacting and payments. While three out of the four applications mention Steven Charles Davis as the sole inventor, one application also carries the name of Ashish Raghavendra Tetali as an inventor along with Davis.

This recent development from MasterCard clearly suggests that the credit card giant is looking into ways to integrate the blockchain-based digital currencies into its own in-house systems. The applications for the patents talk about the company’s systems and methods for authorising, processing and securing transactions through the blockchain technology. The applications also see MasterCard pitching that a combination of its existing payment technology and blockchain could prove to be a big boon for people who’re making digital payments.

It is interesting to note that the patent applications have been published just some weeks after the credit card company launched a set of experimental blockchain APIs. It was in the year 2015 that the company got exposed to the newly-emerging blockchain technology, when it had participated in Digital Currency Group’s funding round.

MasterCard isn’t the only one trying to explore the field of blockchain or digital currencies in search of scoring some patents.

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One look at the patent application released over the last few months clearly reveal that the patent activity has been quite active among both established as well as emerging businesses. In the past few weeks, the USPTO has received and published patent applications from quite a few major market players like Nasdaq and AT&T, as well as promising startups including Blockstream, Digital Asset Holdings, and 21 Inc.

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