Retail giant Walmart just filed a patent for a marketplace based on blockchain for improved digital offerings.
The document outlines how the blockchain ledger will track items being sold to particular customers. Walmart had explored various related technologies, and this is the latest one that involves the handling of intellectual property.
The tracking process starts with registering customers into a system as soon as they buy something for the first time.
The patent notes a problem that they have addressed using the blockchain as an integral part of the solution. Customers will not be able to keep using any item for its whole lifespan. The system encourages customers to engage in re-selling by enabling them to set a price for re-selling products. The process is facilitated further by adding features typically found in a digital marketplace. The solution will be using an interface with point-of-sale, browser-based, or a mobile device as possible options.
This is not the first time Walmart had filed a blockchain related patent. Earlier during March of this year, the company filed one for a “Smart Package” delivery system where the contents, environmental conditions, and locations involved in the delivery will be tracked by the tool operating on the blockchain.
Walmart further explained the process of using the new technology:
"By one approach, the transfer from the seller to the courier may require signatures from both the sender and the courier using their respective private keys. The new transaction may be broadcasted and verified by the sender, the courier, the buyer, and/or other nodes on the system before being added to the distributed delivery record blockchain. When the package is transferred from the courier to the buyer, the courier may use the courier's private key to authorize the transfer of the digital asset representing the physical asset from the courier to the buyer and update the delivery record with the new transaction."
Walmart’s confidence in blockchain technology has grown to a point where it was already testing automated delivery solutions and used the blockchain for live food businesses to facilitate contamination management and improve transparency.