According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, retail giant Walmart has won a patent application for development of an electrical grid that will be powered by Bitcoin (Bitcoin) or other digital currency. The document, describes a system designed to help organizations to optimise their energy usage of electrical devices. Walmart first applied for a patent in December 2017.
The technology allows residential buildings or even large organizations to use a distributed ledger system to optimize energy costs. This method allows each device to assign a certain amount of cryptocurrency, which will be used to purchase energy from a utility provider during the specified billing period, for example, one month.
“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.” – the patent explains.
If a single device ran out of funds, another device on the network could share its assigned currency with the first device. However, these transactions, which will be recorded in a distributed ledger, will reveal to the owners that a particular device consumes more energy than it should.
The patent explains the need for such a system:
“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.“
If the system see that an object is using less energy than it’s supposed to, the extra crypto funds can be relocated to higher energy consuming facilities, transferred to the next period of payment, or even sold off.
Earlier in May, Walmart filed for another patent application for a blockchain platform that enables the tracking and resale of purchased goods. The service will allow clients to register items after the initial purchase, stating a price for its resale. The system is set up to act as a digital marketplace.
By Nadya Astam