Walmart, the multinational retail corporation, has bagged the patent rights over an electrical grid which could be powered by Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, as stated by a patent application published by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on June 14.
Using a publicly distributed ledger, the system hopes to help companies regulate and efficiently manage energy consumption. The patent application was filed by Walmart in December 2017.
Using a blockchain based network of energy consuming devices, the patent proposes to include both small households to larger companies and institutions. Eventually, the device will be assigned a specific amount of cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, which can be utilised to buy electrical power from vendors. The patent applications go on to explain:
“Each unit cryptocurrency may represent a unit or a portion of a unit of energy. For example, if 1 cryptocurrency unit is set to be equivalent to 1 kWh, the provider interface module 131 may receive a capped total amount of cryptocurrency of 800 for a month to spend on purchasing 800 kWh of electricity.”
It also states that if a device exceeds its allotted amount of cryptocurrency, there will be a facility to share funds with others for its continued functioning. This system will also help in indicating the power consumed by each device.
The same concept is applied when a device consumes lower energy, it can be distributed to sell the extra energy for cryptocurrency to other networks.
The patent mentions that “the utilization of the cryptocurrency may be operated independently of a central database system, such as a central bank, a central management system, or central authority operated by the energy provider.”
Walmart has been one of the forerunners in integrating blockchain technology in their services. One such service records the customer’s purchase details on a public ledger helping the customer to resell the items by retrieving the record of the purchase. The “Smart Package” patent uses blockchain to track the shipment, location, environmental conditions and other details of the package. In addition to that Walmart is getting vendors to put food on a blockchain to improve transparency and to reduce contamination and wastage of food items.