Walmart steps up its commitment to Blockchain

Walmart’s newest patent filings could bolster how the company leverages Blockchain technology going forward.

The discount giant has filed two patents that could allow the company to expand its commitment to Blockchain technology, and bolster its digital operations. The first, which was published on May 17, highlights a user interface that enables customers to resell merchandise at a new price, according to the application, which was filed in Nov. 16, 2017.

This blockchain ledger would track the items that customers purchase from specific Walmart stores and the customer who buys it. The register will enable customers to register the purchased item, as well as choose a price for a resale, acting as a digital marketplace, according to the filing.

The second, which was published on May 10, focuses on how the technology will better facilitate customer deliveries. Designed for a fleet of self-driving delivery trucks carrying customer orders, the technology would direct autonomous vehicles into “a customer-specific restricted area via an access code,” according to the application, which was filed on Oct. 31, 2017.

While Walmart has no definite plans to use the proposed technology, this is not the company’s first foray with Blockchain. The discount giant is currently testing the use of distributed ledger technology for supply chain management in the fresh food industry. Working with IBM, the company is using Blockchain technology to trace food across its farmer, processor and distributor partners.

“The food system is complex, and each segment does business their own way, mostly on paper or disparate systems,” Frank Yiannas, VP, food safety , Walmart, said in a company video on Youtube.

“This program is a way to enable safety system stakeholders to collaborate one set way, and do quickly and efficiently,” he added. “[The technology] captures information of product and where its been, then links it with other data points, including the Internet of Things, to create a safer, more sustainable food system.”