While many retailers are just toying with the idea of integrating blockchain technology, Walmart is exploring the launch of trials. All in an effort to drive down supply chain costs, and help keep pace with giants, like Amazon.com.
Along the way, it’s been applying for and winning patents for blockchain ideas.
Blockchain-Based Health Care Records
In late June 2018, Walmart won a patent for a system that would house medical records on the blockchain. According to that application, the system would involve a wearable device that houses patient data on the blockchain.
According to Fortune, “This system would depend on a wearable device which houses the actual patient data (on a blockchain). Another device, a biometric scanner, in conjunction with an RFID scanner, will be used to identify and then unlock the medical data stored on the wearable device. Two separate digital keys, one private and one public, would be at play, with the private key decrypted by scanning a major biometric feature of the patient.”
The Bitcoin-Powered Electrical Grid
According to the patent, “residential homes or even large, multisite organizations could use a blockchain or another type of distributed ledger to build a network of energy-consuming devices. They could then assign each device a set amount of bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, which it could use to purchase energy from the utility provider over a set billing period, such as one month,” as noted by CCN.
Walmart and IBM partnered with several food companies, including Dole and Kroger, on a cooperative blockchain project. By doing so, the companies can track food items globally on multiple supply chains.
As we reported here, Ripe Technology co-founder and president, Phil Harris and co-founder Raja Ramachandran found that food is an industry plagued by fraud and safety issues. Blockchain can help manage the “decentralized nature of the food business, so people can post data, they can protect it, they can share it, they can create records with it. In the end for the consumer, they basically get a longer record,” they note.
With it, people can go to the grocery store for example, and know exactly where the food came from. They’ll know if it’s really organic, or GMO. They’ll even be able to tell how fresh it may be. What Ripe wants to do is use blockchain to help digitize the supply chain.
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