Mastercard has won a patent that may see it embrace blockchain payments and cryptocurrencies. The patent itself is for a method of managing “fractional reserves of blockchain currency”. Which is essentially just allowing cryptocurrency transactions.
There’s still a long way to go before Mastercard is capable of delivering the use of blockchain currencies. For starters, payments using the blockchain take far longer than most credit card users would like. With transactions taking up to several minutes to complete. A lifetime when it comes to the near seamless and instantaneous nature of credit cards.
Working out how to apply the blockchain is another matter. One of the benefits of using cryptocurrencies is that the transactions are anonymous. Something that banks and merchants would rather not happen. Since the benefit of regular banking is the ability to always know who is on the other side of the payment.
No guarantees have been made that Mastercard will actually build a product around this patent. Large corporations are known to protect their ideas with patents; limiting competitors from jumping a potential new revenue stream before they are ready. In this case, Mastercard is likely hedging its bets and making sure that it has something in place in the event that blockchain payments really take off.