Facebook created a blockchain unit in an executive reshuffle this spring and that division's activities in seeking new ways to use the emerging technology to work for the betterment of the company are now seemingly being reflected in patent filings. Two new applications published by the World Intellectual Property Organization reveal that Facebook is working on payment processing and authentication, and apparently use blockchain technology in those pursuits. One of the two filings is for a system that can use authenticated payment tokens across devices and ecosystems, while the other is for something that can dynamically generate those tokens.
The patent centered on a device-agnostic solution for using dynamically generated payment tokens shows an example wherein a Facebook user wants to make a transaction with a merchant online. The user would make a request for a payment token, and the request would pull a generated token that's associated specifically with that user, then send it to the merchant for authorization. Once that goes through, the payment is allowed to process and the merchant can then ping the user's linked account as indicated by the user in order to obtain the payment. The payment token generator, meanwhile, is built with individual transactions in mind and thus offers a diverse number of ways to generate a token. When a request is made, the system will look at the user and the transaction, then choose which method is best out of third-party generation, a gateway-based approach, or in-network tokenization. Taken together, these two patents point to a payment authorization and tokenization system that's based on blockchain technology while being administered and managed by Facebook.
Facebook's reshuffle wound up dividing the company into a number of groups, and one of those is dedicated to researching new frontiers and formats for Facebook and related business. It is under this group that the blockchain unit falls, led by former Messenger head David Marcus. There are now also groups for Facebook's core family of apps and central product concerns. The blockchain unit is dedicated to researching new ways to use the digital ledger technology, so it's safe to say that more patents like these ones will be filed in the near future.