A recently published filing from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) summarises a blockchain-based framework that Walmart has pictured as part of its attempts to expand its digital services for retail shoppers.

Applied in 2017 and granted on May 17, 2018, the document is an illustration of Walmart’s drive to embrace digital technology for augmenting its intellectual property holdings, also it adds to an impressive arsenal with a number ranging from parcel-tracking approaches to IoT.

In accordance with the record, Walmart’s proposed system enables the monitoring of retail products brought by a customer. This is achieved by allowing a client (storehouses or electronic) to “enroll” a commodity after purchase, picking a defined cost for resale to people, while utilising Walmart’s frame as a digital market.

As stated in the patent:

“The increasing competition from ‘non-traditional shopping mechanisms’ as an incentive for ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers to stay ahead of new technologies that could improve customer experience.”

What’s more, the patent specifies that the innovation is not restricted to retailers, as human clients often use a product for a limited time and would like to sell it later on. However, this involves low-awareness on how to execute the sale, as clients are “left to their own devices to arrange for a subsequent resale.”

On the other hand, the latest patent details a “additional support to greatly ease and facilitate their later reselling of items,” which updates every trade as the goods are purchased in bulk, sold to customers, and handled by couriers.

However, the described platform is believed to provide “additional help to greatly ease and facilitate their later reselling of items,” while encompassing many different interfaces like web browsers, mobile platforms, or a physical point-of-sale.

The proposal is similar to a recently registered patent, which explained the retail giant’s intentions to power up a fleet of delivery trucks via the blockchain.

For making a trade, the courier and seller are needed to supply their personal keys. Once matched, the trade is immediately broadcast to the network, even though it might require confirmation from the purchaser, vendor, and courier, before being added into the blockchain.

Afterwards, once the buyer collects the bundle, the courier is expected to use their personal key for verifying the handover, which instantly updates the blockchain together with the trade, and marks the close of the buy cycle.

It remains to be seen whether Walmart’s vision will become a reality, however, since the firm has registered for a quantity of blockchain patents through the years but has been reluctant to combine them into its daily surgeries.


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