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Credit card multinational MasterCard has announced it has filed four new patents for blockchain applications, as it continues to investigate new ways of implementing the blockchain within its business.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has published details of four separate filings from MasterCard, as the company seeks to leverage its research and investment into applications of the decentralized ledger.

The filings center on transactions and payments directly, and come in addition to a number of other applications being trialed by the company.

According to a note on the company’s filings, MasterCard believes these technologies could introduce a range of benefits to its customers, while safeguarding security across its payments network.

"Accordingly, the use of traditional payment networks and payment systems technologies in combination with blockchain currencies may provide consumers and merchants the benefits of the decentralized blockchain while still maintaining security of account information and provide a strong defense against fraud and theft."

The news comes amid a raft of similar filings from other companies, looking to identify innovative applications for the blockchain with a particular commercial focus. MasterCard itself has engaged in funding early startups within the blockchain space, in recognition of the value it places on this emerging technology, both today and in the near future.

The patents focus on ways of integrating digital currency within existing payment infrastructure, as well as mechanisms for providing secure, decentralized transactions for its business. MasterCard joins a number of other major international companies in exploring the technology, including many other names in finance, agriculture, charitable sectors and other industries.

As the technology continues to develop and adapt, its rise to mainstream consciousness is expected to accelerate, with projected dividends for those adopting distributed ledger technology within their business.

The move sees MasterCard join organizations including central banks, governments and public-sector bodies worldwide in the race to identify practical applications of the blockchain across transactional and other use cases.

The patents credit Steven Charles Davis and Ashish Raghavendra Tetali as the inventors of these applications, which it is hoped could tackle the authorization, security and processing of transactional information over distributed ledger infrastructure.