The retailer has plans to implement blockchain technology in interesting new ways.
Today, it was reported that Walmart was approved for three blockchain patents. The first patent centers around a system that allows households to manage their electric bills via cryptocurrency. The system would be operated using a public blockchain.
“Currently, energy providers deliver energy to locations that inefficiently use the energy, which leads to increased energy costs for consumers,” quotes Walmart’s patent filing. “The increased costs result from various appliances and devices that consume energy at higher levels than the appliance or device may actually need to function or perform certain tasks.”
In addition to saving consumers money on electricity, Walmart has filed for a patent that involves storing patient data on a distributed ledger. For example, a patient could wear a device which, combined with RFID tech and a biometric scanner, could offer doctors easier access to the patient’s medical data.
According to a report from Cryptovest, “The medical records can then be accessed in emergency situations when a patient is unresponsive. Due to privacy issues, only medical data that is emergency-specific should be put on blockchain.” Walmart’s third patent is based around a system which helps users securely control, or limit access to, a real or virtual space.
Essentially, the system functions by utilizing cryptographic keys stored on a blockchain. Finally, Walmart is said to have filed for two additional patents for a blockchain powered platform for digital shopping and vendor payments. The theory is that Walmart plans to give customers more comprehensive access to their payment history, but they also don’t want to leave things open for third parties to gain access to this information.
Walmart is one of many companies, joining the likes of IBM and Cisco, to pursue new blockchain patents in 2018. Cisco recently received approval for its Trust Enabled Decentralized Asset Tracking System for Supply Chain and Automated Inventory Management. Meanwhile, IBM filed a patent application for “systems and methods for preventing vulnerabilities in a blockchain.”