Mastercard won Patent for Blockchain Bidding System

Mastercard has won a patent for a blockchain system that lets travelers to submit desired itineraries and merchants to submit bids for each service request
07 June 2018   1276

Awarded to Mastercard by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the patent is aimed to upgrade the global travel industry by connecting travelers to a wider range of hotels, airlines, and other service providers than most presently do prior to booking their itineraries - even when using services like Priceline, Kayak, and Hotels.com.

The proposed system suggests that travelers may submit particular information about their itineraries, that would then be included in a block and broadcast across the blockchain to all network-connected nodes. Merchants could then submit bids for reservation requests, that are to be estimated by a processing server and returned to the traveler.

The use of bidding can enable travel providers to make adjustments as necessary to earn business as they desire, which can also enable a traveler to receive the best possible deal with respect to each item in their travel itinerary. As a result, travelers save both time and money with respect to their travel itinerary, and travel providers are provided with greater opportunities to earn and increase revenue.
Ankur Arora
Developer of the Bidding Blockchain system

Mastercard, alongside IBM and Walmart, has been one of the most prolific investors in blockchain investigating, especially towards their intention of blockchain-related patents. At the same day that the USPTO awarded Mastercard a patent for the company’s proposed travel bidding system, the firm also won a patent for a point-of-sale system that uses blockchain technology to safely verify payment credentials.

The firm has already successfully patented a resemble system some days earlier. This framework is supposed to use blockchain wallet addresses to verify coupons and let merchants to issue targeted discounts to their clients more effictively.

Potentional Vulnerabilities Found in ETH 2.0

Least Authority have found potentional security issues in the network P2P interaction and block proposal system
26 March 2020   202

Technology security firm Least Authority, at the request of the Ethereum Foundation, conducted an audit of the Ethereum 2.0 specifications and identified several potential vulnerabilities at once.

Least Authority said that developers need to solve problems with vulnerabilities in the network layer of peer-to-peer (P2P) interaction, as well as in the block proposal system. At the same time, the auditor noted that the specifications are "very well thought out and competent."

However, at the moment there is no large ecosystem based on PoS and using sharding in the world, so it is impossible to accurately assess the prospects for system stability.
Also, information security experts emphasized that the specifications did not pay enough attention to the description of the P2P network level and the system of records about Ethereum nodes. Vulnerability risks are also observed in the block proposal system and the messaging system between nodes.

Experts said that in the blockchains running on PoS, the choice of a new block is simple and no one can predict who will get the new block. In PoS systems, it is the block proposal system that decides whose block will fall into the blockchain, and this leads to the risk of data leakage. To solve the problem, auditors suggested using the mechanism of "Single Secret Leader Election" (SSLE).

As for the peer-to-peer exchange system, there is a danger of spam. There is no centralized node in the system that would evaluate the actions of other nodes, so a “malicious" node can spam the entire network with various messages without any special punishment. The solution to this problem may be to use special protocols for exchanging messages between nodes.