The American multinational retail corporation, operating an enormous chain of hypermarkets and grocery shops, applied for the patent in December 2017.
Bentonville, Arkansas-based retail giant plans to use the system to assist companies in managing their energy consumption through the use of digital currency.
Basically, this revolutionary project will help households and large companies to more efficiently use electricity.
“Currently, energy providers deliver energy to locations that inefficiently use the energy, which leads to increased energy costs for consumers. The increased costs result from various appliances and devices that consume energy at higher levels than the appliance or device may actually need to function or perform certain tasks. Smart appliances and devices are now available to consumers that can operate more energy efficiently, but still consume more energy than needed or economically practical,” the company stated in the patent.
The patent, under the title “Managing a Demand on an Electrical Grid Using a Publicly Distributed Transactions Ledger,” is less complicated than it sounds.
As the patent specifies, households and companies will be able to use a blockchain-based network of energy-consuming devices, each with an allotted amount of bitcoin or other accepted cryptocurrency, which will be used to buy energy from a utility company:
“Each unit cryptocurrency may represent a unit or a portion of a unit of energy,” the patent explains, adding that “cryptocurrency may be a bitcoin, an altcoin, or a derivative of a bitcoin, or any digital currency.”
In case that one device on this network exceeds its predetermined allotment of Bitcoin or whichever cryptocurrency it might use, the other devices can transfer funds to it so that it is able to continue its operations during the billing period. The system will also enable the user to see which device in the network uses the most power.
In the same way, networks can transfer energy among themselves. If one specific network lacks energy, another network can share its unused energy with it.
The system can also sell the remaining digital assets or move them on to the next billing period.
“The utilization of the cryptocurrency may be operated independent of a central database system, such as a central bank, a central management system, or central authority operated by the energy provider,” the patent adds.
Integrating blockchain technology into its business is nothing new for Walmart, as this company has also applied for numerous other patents, such as the one that records a customer’s purchase into a ledger, making it possible for the customer to resell the items on a sales platform using the purchase history. They also have a patent on a blockchain-based delivery system, which tracks package contents, location, environment etc.
Walmart was founded in 1962 by Sam Walton and incorporated on October 31, 1969. As of this year, Walmart operates 11,718 stores and clubs in 28 countries under 59 different names.
Combining the cryptocurrency universe with the energy production industry is gaining increasingly more attention, as one of Australia’s most prominent and most successful blockchain startups, Power Ledger has unveiled that they are working on a platform that would allow consumers to purchase and sell solar power in real-time.
“Coupling on-site renewable energy generation with peer-to-peer trading will allow residents to maximize the value of their renewable energy investments while sharing the low-carbon benefits with their neighbors,” believes Power Ledger’s managing director David Martin.