Following news that E-Commerce giant Rakuten, and rumors of Amazon getting into the cryptocurrency and blockchain space in various capacities, the next retailer eyeing a move to integrate blockchain technology into their business operations, will be Walmart, according to a new patent.
In the patent application filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Walmart is planning on creating a “smart package” for customer shipments that would include a device - likely an RFID chip - that would utilize blockchain ledger technology to record the package’s location coordinates, what the package contains, what vehicle it is on, etc.
Walmart explains in the filing:
"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."
Also in the patent filing, Walmart illustrates the use case relating to perishable food products, that need temperatures regulated, and faster shipping methods to ensure the product reaches the end user with quality fully intact. It also further hints at integrating the blockchain technology with other emerging technology such as self-driving vehicles, and drone delivery services.
Last year, Walmart began aggressively expanding their shipping services to better match Amazon Prime, which has stolen a lot of Walmart’s market share in the online retail space. Walmart appears to be targeting new technologies as a way to get a leg up on Amazon - the current leader in online shopping.