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article imageWalmart to develop a block-chain-based shipping system

By Ken Hanly     Mar 5, 2018 in Technology
Walmart has filed a patent application for a "smart package" that will enable the company to track products sold more efficiently and also better authenticate customers.
Walmart's "smart package"
In spite of many governments and business enterprises being skeptical about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, there are increasing applications of the technology to business enterprises and to the public sector as well. Now the retail giant Walmart has decided to try out the technology. Walmart is the top retailer in the world by revenue.
Walmart describes its new system as a "smart package" that would operate on what would be presumably a private blockhain that Walmart itself would develop.
In the US, publication of a non-provisional patent application occurs 18 months before it earliest effective date. However, once a patent application is filed the patent office can reject third party applications for related technology.
Walmart's reason for developing the system
The application document also says:“Many customers shop online for various reasons include (sic) ease of shopping, comfort of shopping, to save time and any number of other reasons that customers may have for shopping online. These online customers many times seek to purchase items that may require a controlled environment and further seek to have greater security in the shipping packaging that the items are shipped in. Current shipping packaging does not provide for such desired functionality.”
Features of the new system
Among the benefits of the blockchain-based system is that it would provide a more convenient way for customers to identify themselves as the person who ordered the product. The "smart package" would have a monitoring device attached that could detect when a parcel was opened. It would update its status when opened.
According to the application, the blockchain will record the "key addresses along the chain” . This will include “seller private key address, a courier private key address, and a buyer private key address."
Also according to the application the smart package would contain: " a device which would record information on a blockchain regarding the contents of the package, its environmental conditions, its location and more. It also suggests that its smart package could be used in tandem with other emerging technologies including “autonomous vehicles,” such as drones."
The patent was first filed in August of 2017. Walmart had already submitted a patent application for a blockchain-based drone package delivery system in 2017.
Walmart's use of blockchain technology in China
Towards the end of 2017 Walmart partnered with IBM in a move to improve food safety in China using blockchain technology.
If the project is competed , customers will be able to track the journey that their food made to the store from which they purchased it.
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