As the potential of blockchains rattles beyond the financial realm, Walmart is the latest to try out the technology in the hopes that it can track food through the supply chain and pick out and recall tainted products.
As Ars has reported before, blockchain technology is essentially a ledger of data chunks—blocks—that link together using validation codes. Each block’s code references that of the one before it, creating an unbroken, sequential chain. Thus, all the blocks are preserved forever in the order in which they were added, providing a sort of built-in validation system—or as Ars previously described it, as a “souped-up audit trail”—locked from tampering. Better still, the chain doesn’t need to be stored in a master location but can instead be distributed among multiple computers still creating a linked record.
The technology was initially applied to secure money transactions, underwriting the rise of Bitcoin. But recently, there’s been a push to use it in other industries. In February, Ars reported that