Walmart files patents for blockchain-powered package delivery tracking system


In news that might delight customers awaiting their parcels, retail giant Walmart has outlined a new blockchain-powered system that would refine a new ‘smart’ package delivery system in an application filed to the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The patent, which would see a ‘smart package’ consist of shipped items as well as a device that would record package contents on a blockchain, would apparently be used in parallel with emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles such as drones.

First filed in August of 2017, the patent elaborates that online shipping creates numerous problems; among them, the challenge of transporting perishable products and the rigors of temperature control.

Subsequently, the company’s ‘smart package’ would not only record the contents of a package on a blockchain, but would further detail environmental conditions, its location, and more.

Chiefly, the patent describes that a blockchain component would be encrypted into each smart device, while each package itself will have “key addresses along the chain of custody, including hashing with a seller private key address, a courier private key address and a buyer private key address.”

Though the patent does not elaborate, it does draw mention to the fact that Walmart is seeking to apply similar blockchain technologies to other areas of its businesses.

Walmart joins a raft of conglomerates eager to apply blockchain technology to their operations. Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten recently announced its bid to launch its own cryptocurrency rewards program dubbed Rakuten Coin, while fellow US firm Starbucks recently outlined that it is considering the development of its own blockchain-powered payments service.

Elsewhere, the United Nations World Food Programme leveraged the Ethereum blockchain to quickly distribute aid to Syrian refugees, whose identities were stored for quick authentication in aid centers.

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