American Express: Why blockchain could save help save you from fraud

American Express could be set to push even further into blockchain research that could revolutionise the way its users stay secure from fraud.

The card provider is investigating ways in which blockchain can be used for safeguarding user identities, as well as helping merchants securely process transactions, a senior company executive revealed.

Speaking at the Oktane18 conference in Las Vegas, Tereasa Kastel, American Express VP technology, said that the company was examining several avenues for blockchain.

"American Express is a very innovative company,” Kastel said, highlighting what she saw during a recent visit to one of the company’s R&D facilities.

"They were working on blockchain specifically for financial transactions, but 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."

All about identity

Kastel’s speech came on the same day as American Express announced it would be using Hyperledger blockchain technology to create tailored to let merchants create custom Membership Rewards programs for cardholders

But she added that blockchain would play a significant role in certain upcoming American Express services.

"Being in the financial industry, we have to be somewhat conservative on what legal and regulatory requirements there are,” she said. “Out on the other hand, what I would say is that what it 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 - despite what might be the regulatory controls might be at this time."

Blockchain can play a crucial role for merchants and customers alike, Kastel noted, possibly helping provide a reliable and secure chain of transaction that keeps users safe from fraud at all times.

"It resonates...when identity is done well, with the latest technologies, it removes the impediments for transacting."

"If you're in this industry, you have to have a voracious appetite for all things be able to work in a world where there is constant change you...have to always ensure you can stay ahead of the curve."

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.