The retail giant began in October to collaborate with IBM and Tsinghua University in Beijing to trace an array of food products moving through its vast global supply chain with an emerging technology known as blockchain.
The experiment, which will wrap up next month, will help Walmart understand how to make use of blockchain - a secure system of recording data that, many believe, could have a transformative effect on the world’s economy. The technology is already creeping into everything from supply chain management to banking to health care.
“I’ve yet to come across an industry where it won’t have an impact,” said David Treat, a managing director at Accenture who leads the consulting firm’s financial services and blockchain practice group.
At its core, blockchain refers to an accounting system known as a distributed ledger. That ledger lives on a network of synchronized computers that communally capture and verify when a transaction takes place. Any time something of value gets exchanged, the data surrounding that exchange are recorded, encrypted and placed into a “block” visible by anyone granted access to the network.
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