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Amex Looks to Blockchain for Customer, Merchant Security

Multinational financial services corporation American Express is exploring the potential of a blockchain solution to increase customer and merchant security.

Vice president of technology at American Express, Tereasa Kastel, spoke at the Oktane 18 conference in Las Vegas earlier this week, discussing the multiple uses for blockchain being explored by the corporation.

Protecting identities and information

As reported by TechRadar, identification security and protecting user information formed the basis of Kastel’s speech. She discussed the prospect of an immutable blockchain solution to American Express’s objective of providing the highest levels of user security and data protection.

“If you’re in this industry, you have to have a voracious appetite for all things identity… to be able to work in a world where there is constant change, you… have to always ensure you can stay ahead of the curve,” she noted.

“Being in the financial industry, we have to be somewhat conservative on what legal and regulatory requirements there are,”‘ she added, commenting on the disparity between government policy, or lack of, regarding blockchain.

Despite this, Kastel said: ”On the other hand, what empowers an individual user to do in terms of controlling their identity, and have that identity be immutable, is something you can’t pass by.”

A blockchain identity wallet

Kastel outlined that initial blockchain probes would be limited to financial transactions. Now, however, she reported American Express is looking into creating a blockchain identity wallet.

”We were starting to explore what would an identity wallet look like, and could blockchain be used to help serve as, both internal, but also external card members and merchants,” Kastel said, detailing a visit to the corporation’s research and development lab.

She added that “American Express is a very innovative company”, in an acknowledgement of blockchain as the next seminal development in the technology industry.

Hyperledger blockchain technology

While Kastel’s talk was predominantly focused on the significant role of blockchain in American Express’s future service development, it coincided with the announcement of the corporation’s utilization of hyperledger blockchain technology.

This is being offered to merchants as an opportunity to create tailormade rewards programmes for individual American Express cardholders.


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CNN Money – Meet the world's first Bitcoin baby

CNN Money – Meet the world’s first Bitcoin baby:

CNN Money tech editor Stacy Cowley (@StacyCowley) describes how Bitcoin plays a special role in one doctor’s practice. Excerpts:

[Doctor C. Terence Lee] is an early pioneer in the Bitcoin retail economy, and a sign on his clinic door advertises his accepted forms of electronic payment: Visa, MasterCard or Bitcoin.”

“Determined to find a patient willing to pay him in bitcoins, Lee put an ad up on Reddit last year offering a “male fertility evaluation” — basically, a sperm test — in return for 15 bitcoins, which at the time were worth around $5 each.”

“An ob/gyn with a geeky streak, [Dr. Lee] came across Bitcoin around a year ago while poking around on the Internet. The community’s passion drew him in.”

“A couple whom he helped conceive three previous babies came back to try for number four.   […] ‘I offered them a 50% discount [if they paid using Bitcoin]’.”

“Lee claims he wouldn’t care if his bitcoins lost their value entirely — he and his staff are having fun figuring out the technology, meeting new people, and enjoying the economic novelty of a whole new kind of currency. He’s even managed to convert a few more of his clients.”

 – (Further discussion of the article)

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