A New Era of Internet
Welcome to an era where social change is dictated by advances in technology – the distant world of yesterday has transformed into an interactive platform of today, exceeding the limits of human collaboration and constraints of time and space.
In the recent years, Internet has found its new match – blockchain – and together they are taking the world on a new path of discovery, transparency, efficiency and trust. Not only has this collaboration promoted economic and social development of various industries, it has also created a potential for connecting anything and everything to each other through technology – a third stage of interconnectivity (following the computer and the Internet) referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT). However, due to overarching problems with the current state of IoT, such as private third-party facilitation between value and information exchange (also known as centralization), the effectiveness and trust of IoT is under question.
How could we, as the now-global nation once separated by differences and conflict, interconnect freely, transparently and effectively without centralized restrictions? Well… a project called Waltonchain might just have an answer to that.
What Is Waltonchain and Why Should We Care?
Waltonchain is a genuine, trustworthy and traceable business ecosystem with complete data sharing and absolute information transparency. It is created by the combination of RFID (radio-frequency identification) and blockchain technologies, which aim to integrate blockchain and the Internet of Things on a scale not seen before. Waltonchain refers to this as the Value Internet of Things (VIoT).
The term Value Internet of Things (VIoT) is important, because with it Waltonchain is trying to solve the critical problem of centralization by introducing a decentralized transaction record and storage technology based on cryptographic principles. They believe that with a distributed point-to-point network (blockchain) where every transaction is recorded in the public ledger, we can achieve value and information exchange safely without requiring trust to be formed in advance. This is even more important in the age of Internet, where anonymity is important and exchange is borderless, meaning that no sensible information needs to be revealed in order to safely transact.
Waltonchain also aims to create an ecosystem which enables all objects and information to be interconnected, even ones with independent functions. To bring an example, here’s a reference to a statement from their Whitepaper:
Through radio frequency identification (RFID), infrared sensors, global positioning systems, laser scanners and other information sensing equipment, it connects any item to the Internet to carry out information exchange and communication according to the agreement, to achieve intelligent identification, positioning , tracking, monitoring and management. As an extension of the Internet, the Internet of Things further promotes the connections between machine and machine, human and machine and achieves the full life cycle circulation management of data in the information world
Not Just Clothing? Are You Saying It Can Do More?
Yes, that is exactly what I am saying, much… much… more. The common misconception about Waltonchain derives from Boxmining videos (please refer to video 1 and video 2), leading to the limited understanding that Waltonchain is based solely on solving the problems of the clothing industry. However, anyone familiar with their Whitepaper knows that the clothing industry solution is just one use case and the initial project phase. The applications and scope of their ambition is much bigger, and you will start to see some ground-breaking ideas in the coming years. Here are some examples of, but not limited to, what Waltonchain’s ecosystem can be useful for.
Logistics and Supply Chain Management for Clothing Industry
Waltonchain has been closely observed by investors as the supply chain management solution for clothing industry. While this is only one of the elements of what Walton is about, it is important nonetheless. The development of a clothing system integration scheme based on Walton’s special RFID+blockchain technology, which is now finished, can play an integral part in the industry by solving problems with warehousing, logistics, stores and aftermarket merchandise procurement, distribution, stock-in, stock-out, stores, shelves inventory, sales, customer purchase, customer evaluation, after-sales service, marketing, analytics data, automated business management, payment processing, product evaluation etc.
The list of use cases in that one industry alone can go on and on. However, the most important thing to understand is that it possesses the capacity of changing the way retail has worked so far. In recent years, ecommerce and online sales channels have been expanding, hurting the growth rate of physical stores and resulting in domestic markets losing momentum and sales. Not only does Waltonchain provide critical benefits for companies looking to automate and make business operations more efficient, it will elevate customer experience in physical stores to a whole new level – something that has been failing to compete with digital sales so far – which is a critical factor in bringing excitement back to physical shopping. Additionally, aside from potentially revitalizing physical stores, Waltonchain also offers solutions for digital stores looking to improve storage and logistics.
Smart Contracts in Compliance with RFID + Blockchain
While the attempt to use and effectivize smart contracts outside of blockchain is nothing new, it has been evident that earlier relevant technologies have failed to create an effective and potentially automated connection between a virtual network and the real world. Even a power platform such as Ethereum can’t do it alone, and requires complementary technology to create ideal situations for smart contract executions. Smart contracts, as we all know, can be automatically executed when agreed conditions are reached, but how can we automate the verification of a completed condition? How can the smart contract know if a condition was met, especially when the condition is complex, without human entry? This is where the real limitation exists. However, by applying the blockchain to IoT and smart systems, Waltonchain can connect the item and identity tags in the real world via RFID technology, which can successfully achieve the interconnection of all things and create an era of true smart economy.
It might be a little too much to grasp, so here is an example of how Waltonchain could automate the whole world with its technology and smart contract integration. Say I own a computer store and need 100 laptops to be delivered by DHL by Monday. We would set up a smart contract with DHL and create conditions: if I receive 100 laptops on Monday, the amount I owe for those will be automatically sent to DHL. Now, normally I would probably need to go and provide entries for smart contract execution, but since all of the laptops have RFID tags on them, once the 100 laptops go through the scanner that is guarding my stores’ loading area, they are verified (since the RFID can identify the exact components and specifications) and an automatic transfer is sent to DHL. It is that simple – I don’t need to go press any buttons, and I can just continue whatever I was doing without having to worry.
Do keep in mind, though, that this is just one example, and there are countless use cases for such technology – the world can operate seamlessly by bridging smart contracts with RFID and blockchain.
Automated Data Collection and Analytics In the Real World
I will not go into complete detail with this, but it is an extremely important aspect of Waltonchain, which is often overlooked. Everyone keeps talking about the logistics and supply side of things, but a game changer in itself is also the automated analytics for every company utilizing Waltonchain technology and their chips.
Let me put it this way: companies pay millions a year for data, and it is the single most valuable asset in the world of business development, marketing and sales. For each company to be able to passively (I can’t emphasize this enough) collect data in PHYSICAL locations, by tracking everything related to their business, is borderline insane (in a good way). For the most part, people have no idea how much this data is worth, and therefore not much attention is focused on this “minor” bonus of Waltonchain. The fact of the matter is that Waltonchain has taken RFID and blockchain integration to a whole new level that is not only going to revolutionize supply chain, but also the way data is collected and used in EVERY industry. This technology is way bigger than people tend to grasp, because physical automated data collection (let that sink in for a minute) is something every business will want to get their hands on, especially when it is cost efficient.
Waltonchain recently won an award for the Smart Waste Management system, which refers to using embedded sensors and live data (collected, for example, by a combination of truck-mounted and handheld RFID scanners) to create vast improvements over a non-connected waste system, providing us a way to monitor waste levels, enabling efficiency improvements in fuel savings, smart route optimizations, decreases costs etc. Furthermore, writing this data to the blockchain makes it immutable, trusted and open to all.
Not only will it create a massive material difference in our harmful impact on the planet, it also provides access to information for anyone without relying on third-party interpretation of data. This means, for example, that not-for-profit organizations can use that data to generate solutions much faster than going out and collecting data themselves, which is costly and time consuming.
But wait… what if this was just the start of it? What if we had access to all information about the environment in which we live? Think about how Google mapped the locational information of the entire world, creating instant access to your surroundings or desired destinations. What if we could do that with other data as well? What if you could instantly get access to quantitative data about anything?
This has the potential of creating a much more efficient economy, as well as boost research and development, since data is live and accessible without constraints. No more are big corporations at an advantage due to big budgets spent on research – the information will be readily available to small companies, students, research and development teams of nonprofits, teachers, governments… the list goes on.
Even that is not the end of it – the utilization of child chains also means that every company can exist on the blockchain and interact with others on the ecosystem. With the integration of smart contracts, as well as data sharing and efficient co-operation, the country can be a big, living, digital organism in a sense – a truly smart economy.
Concerns To Consider
Since all great technological developments historically have been exploited to some extent, there are some privacy concerns when it comes to RFID technology. Once we achieve the ideal world where everything is interconnected, it also means that everything can be tracked and verified. While this is great when it’s used for good, it also poses huge threats and security holes for malicious things under centralized control, meaning that the technology should be treated with caution.
Costs and Development Needs
While the technology and concept are revolutionary, there is also a prevalent issue with RFID – the cost. To achieve large-scale application, the price of manufacturing RFID tags needs to decrease by a significant margin. While applying RFID tags to expensive products and valuable operations is viable, it is currently too costly to integrate them with cheaper products (such as packaging for food products, etc.).
Furthermore, there are also limitations in regards to development. In short, the passive UHF market is still in its early stage, meaning that real breakthroughs might take time. We might not even fully grasp the extent of what improved RFID tags can do, and only real-world application will bring new ideas and innovation. While there are already significant benefits and use cases, the full potential is yet to be realized and put in practise, which requires patience and time (as with all great technology).
Cost and development needs are something new technology always faces at its early stages. However, there is no doubt in my mind that in time those issues will become void.
Inflation and Mining Monopoly
Waltonchain states that improvements to the Dash X11 code were made, but we still have no confirmation whether there is in-built ASIC resistance. An official masternode AMA addressed the question of necessary mining equipment (CPU, GPU or ASIC), but Waltonchain only responded that GPU mining will be necessary to earn maximum masternode rewards until further notice. Therefore, there are some concerns involved with potential mining monopoly and inflation if ASICs do become the primary mining equipment in the future. As already stated, though, this has not yet been confirmed and the concern would become void when the theory is debunked.
I can obviously do no justice to Waltonchain in such a short article, because the scope of the applications their solutions have is unparalleled in the world of blockchain. If the project is able to overcome the concerns outlined in this article and successfully implement even some of their ideas, it can become one of the giants in the world of future technology, paving the path and changing the way businesses operate.
What I find truly staggering is that Waltonchain does not just provide a product, but a whole ecosystem consisting of RFID chips, Readers, Mother- and Child-chains. To even consider that we can achieve automated data collection and analytics, automated smart contracts and full interconnection between everything, while maintaining full transparency and decentralization, is still a little mind-blowing.
All in all, I believe Waltonchain can potentially create a future to look forward to, and it represents the exact ideals that were instilled in us with blockchain. The only question remaining, though, is whether all of this is feasible and achievable, and whether the obstacles on the path, such as attempts of centralization and privacy concerns, do not undermine the end goal.