Mastercard has been awarded a patent for a technique to split a blockchain so that multiple transaction formats and types can be stored on a single blockchain.

As the patent – published by the US Patent & Trademark Office – explains, a technical roadblock impeding the wider use of blockchain technology to record transactions is the need for blocks comprising a blockchain to be of the same format and include the same types of data.

This means that entities that want to use multiple types of blockchains, such as a different blockchain for several different currencies, must deploy and operate a new blockchain corresponding to every currency. Such an operation demands significant resources and processing power.

Permissioned vs public

Unlike permissioned blockchains that restrict who can read records or act as nodes on the network, public blockchains – like the one that runs the cryptocurrency Bitcoin – permit anyone to view and make records.

Mastercard’s new patent says the inflexibility of blockchains around formatting limits the usage of permissions on permissioned blockchains, despite demand for permissioned blockchains that accommodate different levels of internal permissions.

Mastercard says their proposed partitioned blockchain could alleviate this restriction and provide ‘enhanced usage of permissions’.

The payment network operator has been filing a flurry of blockchain-related patents in recent months. In the summer, they were awarded a patent that described a new technique to connect assets between blockchain and fiat accounts.

The news comes as it was revealed that traditional banks are fighting back against new disruptive payment systems by embracing blockchain technology.

According to the Financial Times, more than 70 banks have joined the Interbank Information Network (IIN) – a network tested by JPMorgan and ANZ to explore blockchain’s potential to speed up unconventional payments such as compliance checks.