Walmart Wins Three Blockchain-Related Patents

Walmart has been awarded three patents for blockchain-backed technology, according to a report Monday (June 18) in Cryptovest. One of the patents covers a system that would let households manage their electricity bills through cryptocurrency, and would be operated with a public blockchain.

“Currently, energy providers deliver energy to locations that inefficiently use the energy, which leads to increased energy costs for consumers,” the Walmart patent filing said. “The increased costs result from various appliances and devices that consume energy at higher levels than the appliance or device may actually need to function or perform certain tasks.”

Another patent involves storing patient data on a distributed ledger. The Cryptovest report said, “The medical records can then be accessed in emergency situations when a patient is unresponsive. Due to privacy issues, only medical data that is emergency-specific should be put on blockchain.”

The idea is that a person would wear a device — a bracelet, for instance — that, combined with RFID and a biometric scanner, would offer access to that medical data.

Walmart’s other blockchain patent “refers to a system that can help users securely control or limit the access to a real or virtual space,” the report said. “The system uses cryptographic keys stored on a blockchain.”

Walmart has also reportedly drafted two patent applications for a platform powered by blockchain technology for vendor payments and digital shopping. Though the retailer wants to give customers access to its own payment histories through the applications, it doesn’t want to give the same type of access to third parties.