Retail Giants Walmart have been awarded three patents related to blockchain technology. The United States Patents and Trademarks Office (USTPO) responsible for the review and award of patents, issued the patents to the Walmart last week. According to a Cryptovest report, a patent each was issued for systems for managing demand of electricity; for storing medical records on the blockchain; and controlling access to a locked place.
The patents were originally filed in December 2016.
According to the report, Walmart was granted a patent for a system that would allow households manage their electricity consumption using cryptocurrency and would be operated with a public blockchain
In its patent filing, Walmart observed that energy providers deliver energy to locations that inefficiently use the energy which leads to increased energy costs for consumers since more appliances that consume energy at a higher level than appliances that actually need to function. Its system, a blockchain-based energy network will cap the supply of electricity; allowing a limited amount of cryptocurrency to be issued for each device.
The US retail giant was also granted a patent for a medical records system on the blockchain. Due to privacy concerns, only patients’ medical needed in times of emergency are stored on the blockchain. They are accessed in emergency cases when the patient is unresponsive.
The system described in the patent application has three devices; a wearable gadget (like a bracelet) to locally store the distributed ledger; a biometric scanner to obtain the patients’ biometric data (like a fingerprint, or iris); and an RFID scanner to scan the wearable gadget.
Walmart’s other blockchain-related patent granted refers to a system that allows users to securely control access to a real or virtual space using cryptographic keys stored on the blockchain.
Blockchain Patent Rush
More recent filings have shown that Walmart has consistently pursued innovation using blockchain technology. In August 2017, the company filed a patent for ‘smarter shipping’, a system that will record and update the content and condition of a package in a blockchain network. More recently, Walmart has blockchain-related patent applications for payment records, blockchain-powered delivery vehicles.
Walmart isn’t alone in the race to obtain blockchain patents. Some other only major companies to received blockchain-related patents within the last couple of days. IBM and Cisco won blockchain-related patents; IBM for “systems and methods for preventing vulnerabilities in a blockchain,” and Cisco for “Decentralized Asset Tracking System for Supply Chain and Automated Inventory Management”