Walmart has filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office which would control electricity usage by integrating cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
The system described in the patent would allot a fixed amount of cryptocurrency for electricity usage in a house, and this cryptocurrency would be used to purchase electricity from a utility company. This provides a mechanism to control electricity expenditures in a household or store and, therefore, would save money.
Each appliance and device in a house or store will have its own fixed amount of cryptocurrency that it could use to buy electricity, and this is recorded in a blockchain ledger. If a device uses up all of its cryptocurrency and electricity, it can query other devices that are using electricity slower than expected in order to get more cryptocurrency to purchase electricity.
If a device does have extra cryptocurrency, it sends it to the device that needs more, and all of these transactions are recorded in a blockchain ledger to facilitate easy auditing. The person paying the electric bill could review the blockchain ledger and find out which devices are using more electricity than they should and make appropriate changes in behavior or repairs, if necessary.
Essentially, this creates an autonomous system where devices interact with each other through cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to use electricity efficiently. The system guarantees there won’t be nasty surprises when the electric bill arrives since the fixed amount of cryptocurrency set aside for electric usage cannot be exceeded.
This system would need a cryptocurrency with very low transaction fees. Even more ideal would be zero transaction fees like with Bitcoin’s Lightning Network.
If there is extra cryptocurrency, the system could share it with another store or household that needs more cryptocurrency for electricity. It can also sell it for fiat on the market, or it could roll it over for the following billing period.
Walmart’s research branch has been embracing and experimenting with blockchain technology. It has filed patents for blockchain-powered autonomous vehicles that deliver products, as well as a marketplace that uses blockchain so customers can resell products purchased at Walmart.
It is only a matter of time until the technology that Walmart is developing becomes operational in the 11,700 stores it owns worldwide, which would facilitate blockchain technology reaching more people than ever before.
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