Last week, Walmart published a patent application entitled “Delivery Reservation Apparatus and Method” which outlines a new method of “smart delivery” using blockchain technology. The proposed system will use delivery lockers located at homes, transportation hubs, and places of work to safeguard delivered items until recipients can come and sign for the packages. Blockchain will be used as a means of connecting these lockers and will allow Walmart to track which ones are occupied and which ones are available for use.
This follows many other recent patent applications that Walmart and competitors, such as Amazon and eBay, have submitted applying blockchain to supply chain management.
Rohit Kulkarni, Managing Director of SharesPost Investment Research Group, discussed Walmart’s announcement and the value creation potential of blockchain.
“Blockchain’s truly decentralized nature along with its capabilities to improve security and privacy can extend to a wide variety of applications. Walmart has filed a variety of patent applications including package tracking, payment processing, third party fulfillment, and locker access control. We are encouraged by this flurry of patents as we believe investors and large corporations are still looking for real-world uses beyond cryptocurrencies. We believe companies such as Wal-Mart would initially rely on generating cost savings and improving process efficiencies as they redesign existing applications using blockchain. Widespread adoption of blockchain will likely come from consumers instead of businesses. But we think the future is bright, especially as large institutions such as Wal-Mart offer their stamp of approval.”