Walmart is looking forward to securing its payment data onto a blockchain network to ensure the safety of this information from thefts and hackings. It has registered two new patents in this regard on Thursday with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
While the patent documents do not mention 'Permissioned Blockchains' explicitly but they seem to be suggesting that. These are blockchains where certain parties are authorized to operate specific nodes. The patent applications mention that apart from customers no one else would be authorized to see this payment and their history. A patent making use of Permissioned Blockchain systems was recently filed by the Bank of America as well.
As per the first Patent, the vendor's payment processing system would be linked to the customer's computing device with a remote server. It describes the process as follows –
“receive from the customer computing device an acceptance indication of the products delivered from a courier service, wherein the courier service is automatically selected based on a value vector associated with the courier service; 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.”
It plans to have an elaborate system with costs of each product, all service related fees, the total amount due, payment is done an outstanding, adjusting receivable and payables and other inventory management plus processing requirements.
The second patent filed by Walmart is for a system to operate like a courier management and online shopping system. It would be a vendor payment sharing system along with capabilities of customer interface with a customer relationship management tool. All in all, this would be useful for the shopping experience at Walmart. This system would have shopping list enablement and management to compute, save, process customer preferences, and generate orders.
As the application explains -
“The system includes a customer computing device or accessing and receiving data produced by the system and a server located at a service provider,” reads the abstract of the second application. “The server is coupled to the customer computing device and programmed to operate a courier management system; operate a customer management system; operate a vendor payment system, and operate a customer interface.”
It would also have customized options for dietary preferences of customers, known locations, acceptable substitutes in case of unavailable products.
Walmart had filed the entitle applications for both these patents in October 2017. The blockchain is the newest technology promising safety of private data and with incidents of hacks of credit card information in the past from websites of various retailers, Walmart has taken a step towards digitization proactively.