American Express Files for Blockchain-Based Patent System

Global financial services giant American Express applies for blockchain-based proof of payment system.

The third-largest payment processor in the USA by card transaction volume, American Express’s new Proof of Payment (PoP) system could see the nation host more than $400 billion in blockchain payments annually.

Proof of Payment?

Filed July 12, 2018, the US Patent & Trademark Office application details a mechanism for using blockchain technology to confirm transactions and the identities of the merchants that process them.

While each payment processor would be assigned a public key for identification purposes, the application outlines an encryption procedure — presumably intended to safeguard identities and payment amounts.

Where some may see such an instance of blockchain as unremarkable, Amex hints it may break ground through the verification of “earlier payments”.

According to Amex, blockchain has utility even after a payment is made — streamlining the customer’s experience where PoP is required. Describing the inadequacies of current systems, the application notes:

In the case of a home rental over the internet, the service provider may email a receipt or confirmation of payment to the housing provider…A period of several days may pass between the renter submitting payment, to the housing provider receiving confirmation, and finally the renter receiving the key.

To Amex, blockchain may be able to expedite such a fragmented process.

By tapping into the power of smart connected devices, Amex explains how service-paying customers could use blockchain payments as digital ‘keys’.

After payments are written to the blockchain, for example, a customer could use their payment card or smartphone — whichever device was used to process the payment — to unlock a hotel door, rental, or gain “ticketless” access to an event, such as a sports event, or concert.

Amex: Bullish on Blockchain?

After describing Bitcoin’s underlying technology as “important” in 2014, the former-CEO of Amex appears to have bequeathed the company an interest in blockchain.

The latest patent joins a series of pro-blockchain movements by Amex — teaming up with Ripple to boost XRP use, deploying a Hyperledger-based rewards system, and applying for an earlier blockchain-based payments patent in March 2018.

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