Waltonchain (WTC) is a Blockchain project that uses next-generation RFID technology to track items in order to improve supply chain management, retail stock management and gather big-data. Walton aims to produce cheap and small RFID tags that be used to tag items like clothing, each tag contains an unique ID that be easily read with information logged on the Blockchain. By tracking items on the Blockchain, it allows companies to cheaply and efficiently improve their supply-chain management and verify authenticity of items. It can also be used by retail stores to manage inventory, as each item has an unique identifier – shops can quickly scan and verify which sizes are in stock. Analytics for data such as “grab rate” (number of times an item has been browsed by a shopper) can be used to improve products.
This article was made possible with help from the Knights of Walton.
- Next-Generation RFID technology – Waltonchain team researches and develops next generation RFID chips, tags and reader-writers. Walton’s has researched RFID chips that have a smaller die size (cheaper to manufacture) and are capable of more read / write cycles.
- Working Demo / Prototype – Walton’s parent company has previous experience in manufacturing and selling RFID supply management products. I was able to check out their latest demo (Waltonchain visit) which includes a working RFID smart clothing rack, RFID checkout, RFID security systems and a reader writer that can scan multiple items at once.
- Sidechains & Scaling – Walton solves the issue of scaling and transaction-throughput via a parent-chain & side-chain setup. Side chains can be industry or company specific and are customization to meet different needs (Interview with CEO Dr. Mo Bing)
- Ethereum & DASH – The Walton blockchain is inspired by Ethereum (smart contracts) and DASH (privacy, masternodes). It is secured by a customized version of the X11 algorithm.
Note: This article has been updated after my visit to the Waltonchain Research Center in Xiamen, China. Find out more about the trip here.
What are RFID tags
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) are tiny rice-sized tags that can be embedded into clothing and almost any product. RFID tags can be read directly by a sensor that is nearby (even without line of sight). This means it can be automatically read by machines as an item moves down the conveyor belt during the manufacturing process. RFID tags are already used for as tracking clothing, tracking animals, auto-pay at toll booths, tracking shipping and inventory management. RFID is favored over barcodes because it is easier for machines to read them, with possible applications with drones.
Real world applications of Waltonchain
Waltonchain solves the issues of inefficiencies from manufacture to distribution all the way through to the retail experience. At every step along the journey there are time savings and data collected that is simultaneously added to an indisputable and secure blockchain. Data can be pulled from this chain by many different people for many different purposes all while keeping private data private and public data accessible. This is what every single industry has been waiting for; from logistics to fashion to retail and food. No other single solution can achieve what Waltonchain can in its current ‘alpha’ stage let alone the finished product.
Walton use Case example
One amazing aspect of Waltonchain is the dual-chain setup. There is the parent-chain (A) and the child-chain (B). There can be any number of child-chains and each can be customised according to specific requirements of a particular business need.
Here is an example of how this would work:
Michael is a designer and he has created a new clothing line which is featured at 10 different stores around the world. Each store has their own child-chain that collects data such as grab rate, put-back rates, try-on rates and even popular size/style data. All of this can be analysed and help inform his next designs (big win for the designer). The above data can also inform the stock-buying process but there is a huge problem. The individual store chains also contains confidential/private data such as customer info and trade secrets that they want that to remain private. Nobody is allowed to access the private chain apart from the individual store themselves.
How does Michael benefit if he cannot access the private child-chain?
Michael can have his own chain which pulls all the specific data he needs without breaching any confidentiality of customer details or store secrets. The data is gathered from ALL 10 stores instantaneously. He then has a greater understanding of his markets across the entire globe because of this. That is just one example relating to a designer and the retail market – there are many more use cases for this technology and it is just getting started.
Waltonchain and the Value Internet of Things (VIoT)
Waltonchain connects the Internet of Things (IoT) to the blockchain. The vision is to enhance the value aspect of IoT by integrating the use of big data at the core of Waltonchain – this is where Walton’s coined term ‘Value Internet of Things’ (VIoT) comes from. This results in data being stored safely, traceable, and trustless with a blockchain. To ease the load of the blockchain Waltonchain has created its own side-chain and smart bridge technology to easily transfer information between chains while retaining the level of security in each phase. This allows high data entry areas such as retail stores, manufacturing, or warehousing to easily initiate a side chain to house the data they input before having it validated into the parent-chain. Many people seem to refer to Waltonchain as a supplychain management solution, however it encompasses at its core the ability to handle big data necessities such as smart cities and manufacturing sensor data on chain. Waltonchain is far bigger than its initial use cases.
Utilizing RFID and sensor devices to create the IoT systems we see now, leads to a plethora of problems. For one, creating a distributed ledger for such data resolves hefty and strenuous auditing requirements. However, Waltonchain is far more than an auditing solution in fact it resolves many problems core to RFID and IoT technology. Waltonchain allows signals across domains and wavelengths to communicate resolving issues with IoT and RFID standards. Given that each RFID has its own unique broadcasting ID, validated by the chain, the issue of two tags within radius of each other can be mitigated. Also, given the consistent tracking of an asset the risk of RFID disruption mitigates the harm done to your data set
As stated in the White paper, Waltonchain comes from several different brilliant minds. Let’s start with the Senior Advisors. Jin Xiji, who is working on IoT, has previously worked for companies like Bell Labs, Honeywell USA, and was the Vice President of Samsung Electronics. Zhu Yanping, who is working on Block Chain, has won several awards, including Taiwan Ministry of Education Youth Invention Award, as well as the Taiwan Top Ten Information Talent Award.
In terms of their management team, Dr. Mo Bing is an established expert in the IoT field. He is very dedicated to integrating Block Chain technology and IoT to make commercialized public chain a reality. Wei Songjie, who is working on Block Chain, has previously worked for companies such as Google, Qualcomm, Bloomberg and has a plethora of experience in Computer System Design, Product Development and Project Management.
- Experienced Team – Waltonchain team has extensive experience in the industry and has partnered with clothing manufacturers.
- Physical Product – Waltonchain works with physical product and existing supply chains. This means that it can be immediately applied with testable results.
- Industry connections – Waltonchain’s team has extensive experience in the clothing industry in China, making them ideal
- Research / Academic background – The Waltonchain team is composed of many associate professors from renowned Chinese and Korean Universities.
- Interoperability – The Walton parent chain and transaction sides chains are designed to facilitate data transfer between different side-chains. The transfer of data will require WTC tokens.
- Hard to find good information – As a Chinese developed blockchain project, initial communications from the Walton team was quite poor. The original website had spelling errors (which were later fixed).
- Blockchain not yet tested – The blockchain is currently under development. An initial alpha was tested by the Walton Community in November 2017.
Walton Chain Review
Review Score: 9.5/10
This article was made possible with help from the Knights of Walton.
WaltonChain website: http://www.waltonchain.org
WaltonChain Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/waltonchain
Walton Coin summary on The Merkle: https://themerkle.com/what-is-waltonchain
Waltonchain Playlist on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9lFXJSrjdxARlET2YpXG3JMZBIEinHBp