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Walmart Halts Its Blockchain Plans For Food Traceability

Blockchain technology can impact and improve many business aspects globally. However, building private ledger solutions often becomes incredibly expensive. Walmart is forced to pause its blockchain efforts for food tracking. 

Walmart Puts On The Brakes

There has been tremendous excitement regarding the impact of blockchain technology. On paper, it can disrupt any business model for the better. In reality, things rarely work out that way, especially among mainstream companies. The costs of building and maintaining such systems won’t always outweigh the overall benefits this technology should provide.

Moreover, there is a growing bearish attitude toward blockchain technology. More specifically, the revolutionary use cases for this technology seem far less revolutionary today. Companies still appreciate immutable and transparent technology for recording data and completing transactions. However, the world seemingly isn’t ready for this technology, and the costs remain very high.

Walmart is the latest company to put its efforts on ice, for now. Although it makes sense to track food via the blockchain – something that can benefit many people – one cannot underestimate the upkeep. In addition, companies like IBM have winded down their blockchain-based efforts. Its plan to digitize global supply chains hasn’t received sufficient cooperation and support to remain viable. 

That is the downside of corporate blockchain projects. They need everyone to share a mindset and commit to a long-term plan. Unfortunately, businesses face ever-changing conditions and financial problems. Few can warrant the cost of buying into such systems under the current market conditions. In addition, vendors, suppliers, and other third parties may not see merit in blockchain technology today. 

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What Comes Next For Walmart’s Plan?

Although Walmart has put its Food Traceability Initiative on ice, it hasn’t been canned. The project had initial support from entities like Driscoll’s Golden State Foods, Kroger, Unilever, etc. Unfortunately, the chain’s big suppliers – mainly independent farmers – are not too keen on using new technologies. As a result, the platform only welcomed one new produce item in a four-year timespan. That is unacceptable and warrants rethinking the whole ordeal. 

It remains likely Walmart will change its stance on blockchain technology again. Traceability and accountability are pressing matters in the food industry. Moreover, these records must be transparent and immutable, making blockchain a logical solution. New rules have been put into effect and businesses must comply by January 20, 2026. That means there are three years to find viable and compliant solutions.