Walmart, the global retail giant headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, is reportedly ready to create its own cryptocurrency, as well as enter both the NFT market and the yet-to-be-explored metaverse.
Walmart investigates cryptocurrencies, NFTs and the metaverse
According to US television channel CNBC, the company filed several new trademarks late last month with the clear intention of producing and selling virtual goods. In one of the patents, the company is said to have included the possibility of offering users a virtual currency and NFTs.
In August, the company had already placed a job advertisement on its LinkedIn profile looking for a cryptocurrency expert. In October, the company launched a pilot test in 200 shops with Bitcoin ATM machines. The aim would be to put them in over 8,000 shops.
In mid-September, news emerged of the implementation of payments with the Litecoin cryptocurrency in its shops, which turned out to be false.
In a statement, the company commented on the news of its renewed interest in NFT and cryptocurrencies, saying that it is:
“Continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences”.
The new frontier of NFTs and the metaverse
Analysts at Morgan Stanley recently said that the metaverse could be an $8 trillion opportunity. Facebook only uncovered Pandora’s box, and now many companies are following suit.
Walmart saw its online sales increase in 2021, with sales at about $11.1 billion in the third quarter according to a report by Digital Commerce 360.
“There’s a lot of language in [the filings], which shows that there’s a lot of planning going on behind the scenes about how they’re going to address cryptocurrency, how they’re going to address the metaverse and the virtual world that appears to be coming or that’s already here”.
said patent attorney Josh Gerben.
Many American fashion companies, such as Gucci, Nike, Adidas, Gap and Under Armour have successfully tested NFTs in recent months. Frank Chaparro, editor-in-chief of cryptocurrency magazine The Block, argues that NFTs and the metaverse could be likened to ecommerce in its infancy in the mid-1990s, so many companies don’t want to risk losing what could be the next revolution in commerce:
“I think it’s a win-win for any company in retail. And even if it just turns out to be a fad there’s not a lot of reputation damage in just trying something weird out like giving some customers an NFT in a sweepstake, for instance”.
In December during an interview the company’s CFO, Brett Biggs had said that he was a big supporter of blockchain. On the same occasion, the manager had said that the company had been considering the possibility of accepting cryptocurrency payments for some time, but that he did not see an “overwhelming impetus” to move quickly in that direction at the moment.