Multinational financial services corporation Mastercard recently released three blockchain application programming interfaces (API). The company’s Mastercard Labs unveiled the development, which focuses on a blockchain core API, a fast pay network interface, and a smart contracts API.
Mastercard Joins Distributed Ledger Race
Mastercard is a giant financial and credit card services company that processes millions of transactions every day. The firm has been keeping its project under wraps, though, since competitor Visa has also shown a keen interest in being at the forefront of blockchain technology. Visa announced earlier last month that it has partnered with Chain to build and scale its blockchain prospects. Mastercard explained that its blockchain will facilitate “new commerce opportunities for the digital transfer of value” using its distributed ledger core features.
Mastercard’s developer website reveals the project has multiple use cases that manage to relieve counterparty risk and costs, out of financial flows. The company claims it will support clientele privacy and enhance transaction processing audibility. The smart contract API creates scriptable transactions that automate certain business flows. Additionally, the firm explained its blockchain will be scalable with Mastercard’s ‘Proof of Audit’ consensus mechanism.
Mastercard’s Blockchain APIs are Ready for Programmers to Test, Experiment, and Build
Developers can sign up to use the blockchain core protocol by signing up with the system. Following this, the user can create a project and select the API needed to build a platform. Programmers can build a team and assign administrator privileges to certain individuals participating. Once all the details are filled out, the user clicks the “Download P12 and Get Started” button. This will automate a private key and a Certificate Signing Request (CSR).
After taking these steps, users can then add Mastercard’s software development kit (SDK) to the project. Mastercard says all the company’s blockchain APIs have a tethered SDK. Once added, the programmer can write the code that accesses Mastercard’s Sandbox APIs. After completing the Sandbox APIs, developers can then move on to blockchain production. However, after completing a few steps, the user must request access from Mastercard engineers.
“Your request for access will be submitted to specialists at MasterCard for each product who will review your request. They will approve or reject your request, based on the information you provided and your eligibility for the API. Once access is approved for any API on your project, you may begin using that API in Production immediately,” explained Mastercard Labs.
The Race Towards Blockchain’s Holy Grail
Mastercard is a little behind as IBM, Hyperledger, R3, Visa and many others are trying to lead the blockchain race. In fact, Visa is already ahead by inviting lenders to test its blockchain-based interbank transfer system. Hendrik Kleinsmiede, co-founder of Visa’s innovation hub, said the project would “reduce the friction of domestic and cross-border transfers between banks.”
Meanwhile, the Linux Foundation-led project Hyperledger has been advancing as well, with backing from both financial and open source industry leaders. Announced last year, many startups and entrepreneurs are using its blockchain framework for projects. Additionally, companies such as Digital Asset Holdings, Ripple, IBM, and Blockstream have all helped with contributions.
It’s also interesting to see Mastercard at the helm of cryptocurrency technology when in 2014 Matthew Driver, the President (Southeast Asia) of Mastercard criticized Bitcoin. Driver released a video detailing why “trust is a critical component” when it comes to financial transactions, and centralized organizations are right for the job.
Now it seems the corporation is a bit more open to trusting Bitcoin’s underpinning technology to save costs and avoid risks. The question is: will Mastercard be able to compete being so far behind in the blockchain industry? From the release of its three API offerings, the corporation seems optimistic.
What do you think about Mastercard’s latest blockchain API release? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock and Mastercard Labs
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