Blockchain

Mastercard Seeks ‘Fast Track’ Way to Sync Blockchain Data

Payments giant Mastercard wants to patent a way to quickly add new nodes to a blockchain network, new filings reveal.

In a patent application published Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the company outlines a method by which nodes can connect with and verify the contents of a particular blockchain. Per Mastercard, the idea is to boost the speed at which the nodes – which store a copy of that network’s transaction history – can get up to date.

Mastercard first filed the application back in October 2016. And as the application explains, “a blockchain may store thousands, millions, or even billions of transaction records over time in a vast number of different blocks.”

While this is part of its immutable nature, this also means the blockchain could “contain thousands, millions, or billions of blocks, each of which must be verified by the new node prior to the generation and addition of new blocks to the blockchain.”

The payments firm goes on to say:

“The verification of such a large number of blocks may take a significant amount of time, during which new blocks may be added to the blockchain, further delaying the ability for the new node to participate … Thus, there is a need for a technical solution to increase the speed at which a blockchain may be navigated for verification thereof, which can thereby reduce the time required for a new node to begin participating in the blockchain.”

In order to do this, the proposed system would include so-called “fast track flags” included in block headers. Nodes, per Mastercard, would be able to use those flags to scan over the blockchain’s contents more quickly.

Notably, the filing also discusses using a specially configured blockchain, which would act as the software counterpart to the nodes and help enable further efficiencies.

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