Walmart is reportedly using a blockchain solution developed by IBM to track some shipments of Indian shrimp to its Sam’s Club locations. The company has previously used blockchain to track leafy greens.
IBM’s Blockchain division has a number of exciting projects, and has previously made similar massive deals, including a French grocery chain called Carrefour.
IBM is working in every conceivable area of blockchain technology except issuing tokens, as companies like Kik did.
Walmart Coin, This Is Not
To avoid overexcitement, let’s keep in mind that Walmart’s not exactly building a tokenized supply system, financing its suppliers with crypto, or anything along those lines. Expect those headlines one day in the future.
The “pilot” project could lead to a wider deployment for Walmart, which imports much of its inventory from China.
Product verification is an added value for consumers. While consumers may not be willing to pay a huge differential — as they are with other characteristics like “organic” — they may be intrigued enough to pay extra for the experience of knowing everything about the goods they consume.
For businesses, a more complete picture of a product’s lifecycle can be valuable in a number of ways.
For suppliers, blockchain can provide services that weren’t possible before. A proper application of blockchain technology, for example, could mean that a product never gets “lost” again.
Seafood, as an industry, stands out as ripe for blockchain integration. As John Connolly, president of the National Fisheries Institute, reportedly said:
“As one of the most traded commodities in the world, seafood has a complex and wide-reaching supply chain, which makes testing and further developing technology-assisted traceability programs an important step. It is encouraging to see a retail leader like Walmart participate in seafood blockchain testing.”
Crypto prices did not significantly pump on news of Walmart’s latest adjacent venture. It’s tough to judge whether even a full-scale integration of blockchain tokens would break the downward pressure currently threatening to drive the price of Bitcoin below $8,000.