Walmart has been at work developing uses for blockchain technology for years now. Back in 2016 they collaborated with IBM to test the technology for increasing traceability of the food chain.
Walmart Blockchain Patents
The food tracing system has since been put into use, and there have been several other Walmart blockchain patents released since then. The UK has developed a similar process for food safety. The UN’s World Food Program has also used blockchain.
Reserving Capacity at the Delivery Hub
A system of delivery lockers, which could be located at a person’s home, transportation hub or any other location would be secured and able to provide live tracking information via a blockchain network. The lockers would act as a middle man, where the recipient would have access to unlock the locker, but the delivery individual would only be able to unlock it when in possession of the item being delivered. Blockchain would also facilitate maximizing efficiency of a delivery network by updating capacity of transportation hub lockers. (patent)
Track Delivery Drones
This patent applies blockchain technology to their patent for drone delivery and smart packaging. An encryption system would facilitate tracking and authentication of delivery. Package tracking on blockchain would also include ambient temperature of the container, temperature of the product if available, acceptable thresholds for ambient temperature of the product, or package contents placed in the container system. (patent)
Accessing Medical Records
Here a blockchain network would be combine with physical devices described in the patent to securely hold an individual’s medical information, but allow it to be shared in the case that they have become unresponsive in an emergency. Essentially this applies technology used in the supply-chain industry, such as Waltonchain using RFID tags, to humans.
Three critical devices make up this patent: A wearable device, likely a bracelet, would hold the memory for the blockchain database. A biometric signature that would replace the traditional cryptographic signature used in blockchains. An RFID scanner that identifies the wearable device. (patent)
Cryptocurrency-Powered Electrical Grid
Power Ledger (POWR) is already experimenting with this concept through a partnership with Northwestern University (NU) by deploying the first commercial clean energy blockchain project in the United States. Residential homes or private businesses could use a blockchain or another type of distributed ledger to connect alternative power sources together, allowing the individual or business to sell their excess power. Walmart describes that the “cryptocurrency may be a bitcoin, an altcoin, or a derivative of a bitcoin, or any digital currency.” (patent)
This is somewhat of a blend of Craigslist, Ebay, Rent-A-Center, and Facebook and Amazon Marketplace with Walmart’s empire of marketing and endless product diversity. It proposes a blockchain ledger and cryptographic keys for simple resale distribution. It also mentions the increasing competition from “non-traditional shopping mechanisms” as an incentive for ‘brick and mortar’ retailers to stay ahead of new technologies that could improve customer experience. (patent)
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