Retail giant Walmart, worth an estimated $500 billion, has filed patents for blockchain technology that will allow it to safely store customer payment data on a distributed ledger. The ledger will ensure said data cannot be accessed without the proper authority, protecting customer information.

This isn’t the first time Walmart has filed a blockchain patent, as the retail giant submitted patents earlier this year for a smart-package delivery system that will use autonomous smart contracts to track the status and location of its contents.

Walmart is also planning to launch a Blockchain Food Safety Alliance with IBM that will help verify the origin and condition of edible goods sourced in China. The latest move is an even bigger one, and if implemented will be handling the payments of a company whose revenue is bigger than the entire cryptocurrency market at the time of writing.

The first patent, filed yesterday, details a vendor payment sharing system including a customer computing device and an accompanying server. The system will process payments, record products being purchased, encrypt the payment and the division of the payment using blockchain technology. The second patent is for a digital courier shopping system that will interact with a customer interface.

The application reads:

“”In one aspect, provided is a vendor payment sharing system, [which would] automatically process payment for a total amount due for the products and services related to obtaining and delivering the products; automatically dividing the payment between parties that provided services related to obtaining and delivering the products; and encrypt the payment and the division of the payment with a blockchain.”

Walmart's patent application

Walmart seems set on integrating blockchain into its business, and with numerous patents and projects in the pipeline, the retail giant looks set for a full overhaul that will set a standard for other major businesses to follow.