Retailers like Walmart have become increasingly interested in researching blockchain technology as a means to improve operations and save on costs. While a previous blockchain-related patent from Walmart was specifically focused on “smart packages” and supply chain management, a new pair of patents filed by the retail giant are aimed at storing payment data using blockchain.
The two patents filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) both reference blockchain-driven platforms to secure payment data in such a way that would prevent unauthorized access from third-parties such as hackers, while still allowing customers to see their transaction history.
The first of the two patents describes a vendor payment system that can automatically transact on a customer’s behalf. An excerpt from the patent application reads:
"In one aspect, provided is a vendor payment sharing system, [which would] automatically process payment for a total amount due for the products and services related to obtaining and delivering the products; automatically dividing the payment between parties that provided services related to obtaining and delivering the products; and encrypt the payment and the division of the payment with a blockchain.”
The second patent filed uses blockchain to encrypt patent data in “digital shopping systems,” which could apply to their website or mobile app’s checkout process.
Walmart in the past attempted to launch its own payment processing protocol called CurrentC, but ultimately failed to catch on due to the emergence and ease of use of Apple Pay and Google Wallet, which both launched around the same time as Walmart’s effort. The retailer appears to have learned from the mistake, and is instead seeking to move payment systems to blockchain in the future.
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