Mastercard, a United States global financial services provider has filed a patent which would enable blockchain based transactions to be anonymous. Originally, the patent application was filed on the 5th of June, 2017. It just got published (6th Dec 2018) some 1 year and 6 months after application by the USPTO (the United States Patent and Trademark Office).
The patent mentions “the use of one or more intermediary addresses to obscure the source and destination of funds in a blockchain transaction” in order to make the transaction itself anonymous as compared to the usual trend of making the users operating the different wallets anonymous.
In essence, what this patent does is that it hides details of a transaction that occurred on the blockchain for security reasons. For instance, if man A transfers to man B or receives funds from man B, a third party will only see that the user only transferred or received funds from a number of addresses thus making any analytical move by a third party on the wallet to be difficult or challenging.
In a much-simplified context, Mastercard further explains that a lot of people are attracted to several cryptocurrencies, most especially, Bitcoin because of its apparent high anonymity level. The blockchain as an irreversible ledger is true since all dealings can be traced to the origin block.
Under normal circumstances, the blockchain data once collected and looked into, can be used to know more about a user who hides behind the wallet. Information such as interests, geographic location, spending habits etc. could be revealed.
However, the filing suggests, “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. This creates a technical problem of competing interests within the technology.”