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Author Topic: [2018-10-02]From Farm to Blockchain: Walmart Tracks Its Lettuce  (Read 27 times)
vit05
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October 02, 2018, 04:02:05 AM
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New York Times
The giant retailer will begin requiring lettuce and spinach suppliers to contribute to a blockchain database that can rapidly pinpoint contamination.

When dozens of people across the country got sick from eating contaminated romaine lettuce this spring, Walmart did what many grocers would do: It cleared every shred off its shelves, just to be safe.

Walmart says it now has a better system for pinpointing which batches of leafy green vegetables might be contaminated. After a two-year pilot project, the retailer announced on Monday that it would be using a blockchain, the type of database technology behind Bitcoin, to keep track of every bag of spinach and head of lettuce.

By this time next year, more than 100 farms that supply Walmart with leafy green vegetables will be required to input detailed information about their food into a blockchain database developed by I.B.M. for Walmart and several other retailers exploring similar moves.

The burgeoning blockchain industry has generated a great deal of buzz, investment and experimentation. Central banks are exploring whether it would be good for tracking money flows. Eastman Kodak has explored a blockchain platform that could help photographers manage their collections and record ownership of their work, while a group of reporters and investors are using the technology to start a series of news publications.

But essentially the only real-world uses have come from cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which use their own blockchains to store transactions. Walmart is now trying to bring blockchain into the lexicon of everyday consumers.

“It is the first real instance of doing this at scale,” said Brigid McDermott, vice president of I.B.M. Blockchain.
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