Walmart China Brings Together Sam’s Club and VeChain to Take One Step Further Towards Blockchainization With Safe Food Traceability Platform
On June 25th, 2019, approximately 1 year ago, Walmart China, PwC China and VeChain jointly announced the establishment of the Walmart China Blockchain Traceability Platform. The community and private equity investors were extremely receptive about this partnership then.
Today, following a press release made by VeChain, it was revealed that Walmart China Group is committing another entirely great vertical towards blockchainization. Sam’s Club China, a membership-only premium shopping chain owned by Walmart China has rolled out their variant of the traceability platform, aptly named Sam’s Club Blockchain Traceability Platform.
Unlike its positioning in the USA, Sam’s Club in China had been repositioned into a chain of high-end, membership-only shopping clubs. According to Walmart China in a press release, Sam’s Club currently runs 26 outlets in China, and is looking to have 40 to 45 clubs in operation or under construction by the end of 2022. With an average of more than 200,000 square meters per outlet, the company so far serves more than 2.8 million members in China and this number tends to double every few years.
Blockchain Complementing High End Shopping Experience
According to its website, Sam’s Club differs from the average shopping experience by only providing either the best quality product in the category or the best-selling brand.
The launch of the Sam’s Club Blockchain Traceability Platform coincides with their “Taste of Sam’s” campaign. The campaign aims to equip their member’s knowledge of living a luxurious lifestyle by promoting the consumption of premium quality food products, including fresh meat, seafood, fine wine and an assortment of imported fruits and vegetables from the finest regions worldwide.
Using VeChain ToolChain combined with cold-chain IoT and a variety of traditional software and hardware sensors, all stakeholders in the supply chain process will be able to upload key logistics and manufacturing data onto the immutable VeChainThor public blockchain. This allows for tamper-proof record keeping for all parties involved, while simultaneously eliminating information asymmetry from consumers. The end product will be tagged with a secured QR code, in which customers can scan using their smartphones to view the full logistical history of the product, including country of origin, packaging information, storage temperature, and various marketing information including pictures and videos.
With this platform, Sam’s Club is able to assure their members that the products they buy are trusted, safe, and genuinely sourced from their places of origin. Traditional methods of traceability and assurance methods such as physical certificates would boost confidence, but not completely assure skeptical consumers. This is where blockchain technology comes in to solve this long standing pain point. Currently, more than 20 product lines including Sam’s Club’s in-house brand “Member’s Mark” is fully traced using blockchain.
The road towards mainstream adoption of Blockchain
With the increasing demand in digitized traceability systems, more resources are devoted now more than ever to develop a compelling platform to be adopted by companies. Blockchain has been stated countless times to be able to solve the problem of securing data access and retrieval points from being tampered. Microsoft, IBM, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and countless other startups have limited success in convincing partners to turn their PoCs to full-on adoption.
In this regard, the initial announcement of the Walmart China Blockchain Traceability Platform was a milestone achievement in the journey towards the mainstream adoption of blockchain technology in a market with many players failing to bring their platforms for deployment.
According to Sunny Lu, Co-Founder of VeChain, “A combination of a standardized yet customizable platform is the key to break down the barrier of adoption for blockchain.
Standardized Yet Customizable – Fusing two contrasting concepts
Walmart China and PwC’s willingness to further implement VeChain’s technology to cover Sam’s Club reaffirms the statement made by Sunny Lu. According to VeChain, businesses are only willing to implement new technologies and platforms if it is cost effective, efficient, and fully customizable to fit their needs. This presents a dilemma for blockchain companies and providers.
Blockchain platforms must thus be designed to allow for a high degree of customization yet standardized to be able to be deployed to clients in different industries rapidly. This seemingly contrasting and impossible combination of concepts were achieved by VeChain’s ToolChain turnkey BaaS (Blockchain-as-a-Service) platform. A variety of industries are already powered by ToolChain, including the recently announced Bayer China’s CSecure Clinical Trial Traceability Platform and the COVID-19 E-HCert Archival and Digital Passport application by the Mediterrean Hospital of Cyprus.
ToolChain’s customizability also allows for third parties to use it as a base to develop their own applications that allow for different usage scenarios. For example, assurance and consultancy companies such as PwC and DNV GL use ToolChain as a turnkey package and develop on top of it for their own clients. Already, DNV GL has developed their own blockchain products such as MyStory, which serves notable clients such as H&M Group, while PwC used ToolChain to develop Walmart and Sam’s Club Traceability Platforms.
With Sam’s Club adopting VeChain’s technology, the VeChain Foundation yet again leads the pack in terms of public blockchain adoption in the industry.
CREAM, an important driving force behind VeChain’s ecosystem development, is a leading strategic advisory and investment firm and pioneering investment incubator using blockchain and the crypto-economy to enable the potential of startups and enterprises globally. CREAM provides a unique approach to blockchain and the creation of crypto-economy business models. As one of the first investment incubators to focus on enhancing business efficiency with blockchain, CREAM is driving disruption into the business world, delivering tangible results that are becoming foundational technologies of the future economy. CREAM is an international team, focused on delivering real world objectives, unlocking novel value and securing use cases and applications for the CREAMethod incubation ecosystem and VeChainThor network.