Mastercard has announced the release of a few developmental Blockchain APIs. Visitors to the credit card company's development site will now see two new blockchain APIs: the Blockchain Core API and the Smart Contracts API. The APIs suggest that MasterCard is taking a collaborative approach to blockchain technology by sparking interest among banks and merchant developers.
"This is part of our initiative to publish experimental APIs from Mastercard Labs and give developers the chance to work on emerging technologies that haven't yet been commercialized by us," Justin Pinkham, Mastercard's blockchain lead, told Coindesk. "We believe that there is a role of blockchain in the future of commerce. This future needs to be developed in partnership with banks, merchants and industry participants."
Mastercard seems to have changed its tone on blockchain. After originally criticizing bitcoin (the longest running, and perhaps most well known public blockchain), Mastercard has now invested heavily in the technology. Not only does it fund startups in the blockchain space, Mastercard has submitted over 30 blockchain-related patents according to Pinkham.
The Blockchain Core API allows developers to run their own blockchain nodes, define transaction types, and manage blockchain participation within a blockchain network. The Smart Contracts API allows developers to write custom scripts with Mastercard's Smart Contract language. The custom scripts can then be used in custom blockchain applications. Visit the developer support site for more information.
Mastercard promotes and utilizes the novel approach to privacy, automation, and audit that is presented by blockchain technology. Mastercard pushes such features as selling points for partners to develop new commerce opportunities with the technology. Pinkham also hinted that more API projects should be expected. For instance, Mastercard is currently exploring the role of blockchain in the digital identity and the exchange of know-your-customer information spaces. Stay tuned.