Mastercard are looking to use Blockchain technology to be able to create a system that allows travellers to submit desired itineraries and merchants to submit bids for each service request. Mastercard was awarded a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office on June 7th. The patent aims to streamline the global travel industry by connecting travellers to a wider range of hotels, airlines and other service providers than most currently do prior to booking their itineraries.
The patent itself states that:
“The use of a blockchain can ensure that a traveler’s desired travel itinerary is publicly accessible to each merchant that is capable of bidding on the itinerary. This enables all travel providers to have an equal opportunity to earn the business of a traveler, without requiring the traveler to seek out every potential travel provider, and without the travel provider having to expend significant resources on marketing and outreach.”
With this system, travellers can submit detailed information about their itineraries, which can then be included in a block and be broadcasted across the blockchain to all network-connected nodes.
Sceptics say that such a system could be accomplished using a standard database rather than the blockchain like we see with standard discount booking agencies use already.
Although, one envisions some increases in efficiency, perhaps translating to a more competitive market for travellers and a decrease in fees charged by the operator of the system.
Mastercard with other companies, such as Walmart and IBM is one of the most prolific investors in blockchain research, at least in terms of their pursuit of blockchain-related patents. In fact, on the same day that they were awarded this patent, they also got awarded another patent for a point-of-sale system that uses the blockchain to securely verify payment credentials.
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