Payment giant MasterCard has filed a patent application for the method and system for anonymization of blockchain-based electronic transactions.
The patent application, originally filed on June 5, 2017, has been published by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Thursday.
The patent refers to the anonymization of an electronic transaction conducted via a blockchain, specifically the use of one or more intermediary addresses to obscure the source and destination of funds in a blockchain transaction to increase anonymity of entities associated with blockchain addresses.
It is often extremely difficult to identify the user behind a blockchain address. This means that an individual can transfer or receive funds utilizing a blockchain while keeping a high level of anonymity.
However, the nature of the blockchain as an immutable ledger is such that every transaction can be traced and followed back to the genesis block of the blockchain.
It can be possible to identify and view all of the transactions associated with a specific blockchain wallet by analyzing the movement of digital currency in a blockchain through its transactions.
This is possible as all the existing communications and attribution structure of blockchain technology such as Bitcoin require identification of where the transactions are emanating and terminating, in order to maintain the ledger.
The methods and systems filed for patent use intermediary addresses to obfuscate the source and destination of funds for transactions conducted via the blockchain. This results in showing the user only transferring funds to and receiving funds from a small number of addresses that are also involved in a significantly large volume of transactions with various other users, thereby rendering the data innocuous.
The amounts themselves may also be obscured through the use of multiple transfers involving multiple addresses, which may further increase the anonymity provided by the systems and methods for which the patent is filed.
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