The patent discussed in this article has two interesting aspects. First, it describes a “centralized computer using blockchain technology” which appears to be more of an immutable ledger built on a central database structure than a blockchain. We investigated Guardtime in 2016 which has a product that creates immutable ledgers using traditional databases. Second, the solution appears to be specifically designed to meet the needs of central banks in that:
“This patent applies to digital dollars as well as other central bank digital currencies such as pounds, yen, and euros and so the physical currency of a central bank anywhere in the world could be digitized.
Described as ‘Digital Fiat Currency’ the patent was initially filed by Visa on November 8, 2019, with the USPTO commenting today, “It takes quite a while…” to publish the filing of a patent. Visa’s patent is described as a central entity computer that receives requests that include the serial number and denomination of a physical currency. The creation of the digital currency and the removal of the physical currency from circulation in a fiat currency system is recorded on a blockchain.”
So the objects being tracked in the ledger are currency serial numbers. This is clever, it positions Visa as a potential government partner to quickly deploy a digital currency that, with some additional effort, could connect to the tokenization platform to ride the Visa acceptance rails.
Overview provided by Tim Sloane, VP, Payments Innovation at Mercator Advisory Group.