Tag Archives: Blockchain

What Are Walmart’s Plans for Blockchain Tech?

Walmart made significant ventures into experimenting with blockchain tec in 2017. Whether out of FOMO or acceptance that blockchain is here to stay, they realized late adopters would be left in the dust. So Walmart first started with the IBM initiative to track certain foods through the supply chain.

The results from tracing Chinese pork and Mexican mangoes around the world were encouraging. Blockchain tech revealed its potential. And now the retail giant is getting trigger-happy with patent filing. From payment systems using blockchain to integrating the technology with an autonomous vehicle-based delivery system.

So, that raises an important question.

Why is Walmart Filing Blockchain Patents?

Blockchain tech is still a long way from mass adoption. But it’s safe to say that most industries are seeing its possibilities. In Walmart’s case, it could be an evolve-or-die maneuver, forcing themselves to adapt to certain changes–or simply an evolution in logistics management.

But it comes at a time when retailers around the world are still figuring out how best to integrate blockchain into their processes.

Some (such as Japan’s Rakuten) are working towards launching their own cryptocurrency. Others, like Walmart and Kroger, have experimented with tracking and tracing food throughout the supply chain.

And even online giants Amazon and Facebook have started registering domains, launching blockchain platforms, and exploring its potential.

Yet Walmart’s patents are not particularly specific and almost similar to white papers in their presentation. This leaves room for a lot of interpretation and questions– specifically, what are Walmart’s plans for blockchain tech?

Reducing Deductibles
Large companies like Walmart have to absorb the costs that arise out of a variety of situations. These are known as deductibles. Consider, for example, that a supplier wants to run a discount, or products arrive damaged or maybe less than the agreed-upon amount. This often results in a conflict with suppliers that is hard to resolve.

Chief Product Officer at HighRadius, Sayid Shabeer, explains:

“Conflict resolution often gets delayed because of restricted access to data owned by different stakeholders. For example, stakeholders from different departments among both suppliers and customers (Walmart), logistics providers, auditors etc., as well as issues related to traceability of related transactions and documents.”

Blockchain technology could provide the much-needed level of transparency required to avoid these conflicts from happening. Or, simply resolve them in an automated manner, without complications.

Shabeer continues, “Walmart could, for example, host a blockchain for trucking companies so that both suppliers and Walmart could use the distributed ledger for reconciliation. The expedited resolution of disputes would benefit both the suppliers and the buyers in relation with AR/AP.”

Using Smart Contracts to Pay Suppliers
Using smart contracts to pay suppliers based on predetermined conditions could be another trick up Walmart’s sleeve. They could significantly cut down on the volume of manpower needed to organize payments and track items. Operations would become infinitely more efficient.

Says Shabeer, “The “smart contract” could be implemented as part of the broader blockchain described above. This would not only help in achieving timely payments but also create an environment of transparency with fewer conflicts.”

Supply Chain Management
We’ve already seen signs from the pilot test with IBM that Walmart will be using blockchain for its supply chain. From the positive results they saw tracking a few items of food, just imagine that rolled out to its thousands-of-product line.

Joel Vincent, Chief Marketing Officer at an IoT specialists ZEDEDA comments, “Walmart’s intended use, according to the most recent patent, is more in line with what you can expect from large companies. It is within the supply chain and tracking how things in an autonomous vehicle are accessed (which is needed because there is no driver to sign a “log” by hand, so the access code must be “logged” without physical verification of the access).”

He continues, “In reality, the use of the autonomous vehicle is simply replacing a driver. If you replace the driver, you need to replace how the driver checks in and out things from a secure truck (which next to driving is also his job). It’s not a leap to go from a fleet of people driving and checking inventory to a fleet of driverless cars that have a tamper-proof log to check in and out inventory.”

The Status Quo Is Changing
While Walmart, Facebook, and other giants are jumping on the blockchain train, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be reaching its destination any time soon. In fact, it could take years before Walmart completely integrates blockchain technology with its existing systems.

“It’s the ‘turning of an oil tanker’ analogy,” Vincent remarks. “Within a large company, it’s not simply the systems that are deeply integrated and will be harder to unwind than 10’ high ball of Christmas lights, but also the ingrained processes.”

However, the fact that they’re preparing for change is an encouraging sign. Not just for FOMO, but actually demonstrably improving their business processes and bottom line.

Blockchain tech could solve a lot of Walmart’s problems. From trust and transparency to traceability, accountability, and waste reduction.

“Blockchain being taken seriously by conservative companies is the beginning of the legitimacy of the technology,” Vincent claims. “We are finding practical, implementable uses every day. We may have progressed blockchain from “Internet in 1991” to “Internet in 1994 – just before Netscape went public” with this activity.”

This article by Christina Comben was originally published at CoinCentral.com

TravelCash Combines Next-Generation Technology and 150+ Years of Executive Experience

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – In the increasingly crowded field of cryptocurrencies, TravelCash (TCV) is appealing to coin enthusiasts and skeptics alike with an innovative two-pronged strategy: employ next-generation technology, but adhere to more traditional business models.

“The cryptocurrency market has been inundated with shiny, new coins that look really enticing, but if you dig just below the surface, there may not be much substance to them,” said Will Gozzard, creator of TravelCash. “We are different. We’re creating a voucher ecosystem that uses a next-generation transactional platform, backed by a US-based company whose leaders have extensive experience.”

As the name suggests, TravelCash will cater to the 7.5 trillion dollar-a-year travel industry, allowing users to pay for goods and services while traveling simply by using a virtual wallet on their phones.

“There are risks associated with carrying cash or credit cards while you travel,” said Jim Davidson, the Chief Technology Officer of TravelCash. “Your money – or worse – your identity can easily be stolen. But with TravelCash, your wallet is stored encrypted on the cloud and is only activated when you choose to do so.”

“Most of us remember travelers checks and how safe and convenient they were,” said Gozzard. “We’re like travelers checks built for the digital age.”

Unlike other coins, TravelCash does not rely on blockchain technology, which can be slow and cumbersome, or ERC-20 contracts. Not only can it be hard to find retailers who accept coins built on those platforms, but using Bitcoin, for example, can carry high transaction fees and take several days to process, especially with smaller amounts.

Because of that, using cryptocurrencies that rely blockchain or ERC-20 contracts for daily retail transactions can be impractical.

Instead, TravelCash is the world’s first cryptocurrency to trade exclusively using Voucher-Safe technology on the Ascension platform. Ascension uses location-agnostic servers available globally which could potentially process thousands of transactions per second.

And, unlike blockchain technology, the Ascension platform is scalable, so servers may be added in the future to meet increases in transactional demand.

Other advantages of TravelCash on the Ascension platform:

  • All wallets remain protected offline until they are activated.
  • All transactions are sent encrypted from wallet to wallet, so there is no possible exposure of personal or financial information.
  • If users lose their phone or their computer is damaged for any reason, their wallets are fully recoverable.
  • TravelCash charges retailers just 1% per transaction, saving retailers 50% to 70% over credit card fees.

Ascension has been fully operational and rigorously tested since 2013. “In fact, we’ve subjected the system to numerous stress tests, randomly inundating it with mock transactions,” said Kevin Wilkerson, the Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Ascension. “It has not failed any of our stress tests.”

In addition to employing next-generation platform technology, the other prong of the TravelCash strategy is to back their voucher system with a US-based company led by a team with extensive experience in a wide range of industries.

Cumulatively, the leadership team of TravelCash has more than 150 years of experience in the travel industry, digital currency, finance and banking. Led by CEO Phil Nick, who spent more than 30 years in finance, the team also includes Greg Bernd, former Vice President of Sales for Expedia and Co-President of Classic Custom Vacations.

The company’s Chief Technology Officer, Jim Davidson, has been involved with digital currency since 1998, and is widely considered one of the world’s leading experts in the field. In addition to his role with TravelCash, Davidson also serves as an advisor to the Digital Cash Alliance and the Ascension Foundation.

TravelCash has even formed a government relations team to stay in front of any issues related to regulation. “I don’t know of any cryptocurrency that has the level of business experience or the technical knowledge as our leadership team,” said Gozzard. “That’s what makes us different.”

For more information visit travelcashinc.com.

Submit your interest for TravelCash here: http://icoas.travelcashinc.com/

Blockchain Publishing: Improving Payments & Rights for Authors

The traditional book publishing industry continues to see lower payments, licensing, and rights for authors in a range of categories. Several projects and organizations focused on blockchain publishing aim to change this industry for the better. Here are some examples of the current challenges and proposed blockchain publishing solutions. Continue reading Blockchain Publishing: Improving Payments & Rights for Authors

ICO in business and blockchain-based international payments. What did experts at Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Australia discuss?

Cryptocurrencies are not of primary importance for business, blockchain-based payments is what defines the future while mining is becoming more power consuming. These are key points voiced at Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Australia in Sydney, a large international event dedicated to blockchain, cryptocurrencies and ICO, on May 29. Continue reading ICO in business and blockchain-based international payments. What did experts at Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Australia discuss?

How Blockchain Financial Services Will Transform the Global Economy

Blockchain technology is transforming what it means to bank in major ways. People from all over the world are learning about the advantages this technology offers, and every day new and more advantageous blockchain startups are entering the marketplace. The open nature of the decentralized economy is truly inspiring, and for the first time in history, there is a real opportunity to solve many of the problems associated with our financial system.

A recent study conducted by the World Bank Organization revealed that more than two billion people around the world lack adequate access to financial services. These individuals are forced to conduct all of their transactions in cash which can be dangerous as most of these areas are located in developing nations. The study also revealed that over 50% of adults in the poorest households are unbanked.

This lack of financial inclusion is seriously hindering world economic development, and in many countries, there has been considerable effort put forth to tackle this problem. Unfortunately, many of these programs lack the technological ability to solve these problems. Considering that the problem is inherent in the current financial system, there is little hope that a solution will come about using the current centralized economic stance.

Why Blockchain is the Answer
A new decentralized approach is needed to provide these individuals with fair and equal access to financial services. The centralized nature of our current banking system requires a huge infrastructure to implement and the investment capital to institute these expensive additions is not practical in many poorer nations; many of which, still lack access to basic infrastructures such as roads and hospitals.

Blockchain technology could be instituted in a manner that is both cost-effective and highly efficient. Thanks to blockchain technology, everyone now has equal access to financial services on a global scale. The transparent and immutable nature of blockchain technology makes it perfectly suited to handle these real-world problems.

Un-Banked Populations
Creating a blockchain-based access point for these unbanked populations would be much easier than attempting to extend the current cumbersome banking system into these regions. Many of these countries are politically unstable and widespread corruption has curbed the desire for large institutions to enter the market. Corrupt governments are controlling the funds entering their regions and restricting the people’s ability to economically develop.

Open Banking
The implementation of a blockchain-based banking system in these regions would help to curb the corruption currently running rife in the banking system. The transparent nature of blockchain technology is ideal in preventing government and banking officials from skewing the books. Corruption is not regulated to just developing countries, as we have already seen in the multiple banking bailouts of the last few years.

Many of the citizens of developing countries such as Zimbabwe are in this exact position. The people have lost faith in their government after years of repression and what basically amounts to financial terrorism. Skyrocketing inflation and corruption have made blockchain alternatives flourish in this country and a new generation of blockchain-aware investors is emerging.

The change throughout Africa is real and in March of this year, South Africa hosted its fourth edition of their Blockchain Africa conference in Johannesburg. This saw record attendance including representatives from the financial, legal, and technologies sectors of the country.

This growth makes sense as blockchain technology is the smartest alternative for South Africans; many of which rely heavily on remittance payments sent from countrymen working abroad. These payments can now be sent for a fraction of the cost and directly via blockchain technology.

Business Payments
The Peer-to-Peer nature of blockchain technology makes it the ideal choice for businesses looking for a more efficient solution than the current lackluster systems in place. There are now multiple cryptocurrency merchant processors at a business’s disposal and by implementing these technologies, a business can easily enter the global economy from anywhere in the world.

Global Payments
In its current state, the global economy can be punishing on individuals who attempt to offer their services or products internationally. The dollar-focused central banking system makes it very difficult for countries with less influential fiat currency to become important players in the world economy. Converting currency internationally can be an expensive task and this hinders many entrepreneurs’ growth.

During the conversion, a company can lose significant buying power if their currency is not of equal value to the other parties involved. This is a skewed financial system that leans heavily towards the colonial powers that first instituted these systems in these countries 500-years prior.

Blockchain users can avoid this pitfall. The decentralized economy is not owned by any country and the largest player in the sector, Bitcoin, isn’t affiliated with any organization or region in particular. One can only assume that Satoshi, the anonymous creator of BTC, must have had the foresight to see that these corrupt organizations would step in and try to regulate or commodify his creation into another tool for their power-hungry strategies. To avoid this confrontation, the creator of BTC has decided to stay anonymous for over 9 years.

Due to the fact that there is no way to contact Satoshi, governments are forced to tiptoe around the issues of regulation, whereas, in a usual scenario, they would just confront the company’s owner and demand they meet their demands or else. The only thing these countries can do to Satoshi is send him BTC to his known BTC address; as that is the extent of the knowledge of this person’s identity they have.

A Blockchain Future
The undeniable efficiency of blockchain technology makes it the obvious choice to solve the world’s current financial system woes. A decentralized financial system would allow for equal access on a global scale and further help those who are being drowned in corruption to seek a legitimate alternative to the current system. Hopefully, blockchain technology can continue to provide untethered access for these individuals who are seeking to become active members of the global economy.

What do you guys think? Is the world ready for a fully transparent banking system? Let us know on Twitter and be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay on top of all the latest crypto developments as they take place.

This article by David Hamilton was originally published at CoinCentral.com