It appears that retail giant Walmart Inc. is getting ready to enter the Metaverse with patent filings indicating that it plans to create its own cryptocurrency and NFT collection.
The multinational retailer filed several new trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Dec. 30, however, they remained unnoticed until a Jan. 16 report by CNBC shed more light on Walmart’s ambitions. Walmart filed a total of seven patent applications at the time, including three under its existing advertising division “Walmart Connect”.
The applications included plans to create and sell “virtual goods,” including the likes of electronics, toys, appliances, apparel, and home decor. There’s also mention of a “digital currency” and “digital token”, and opportunities to buy and sell NFTs.
Meanwhile, a separate application suggests plans to trademark the Walmart brand name and logo in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), with the possibility of introducing “physical fitness training services” in VR and AR.
This comes as the latest in a string of recent events indicating Walmart’s interest in the Metaverse. In August, the retail giant listed a job vacancy for a “digital currency and crypto product lead” to drive digital currency strategy.
The job listing has since been removed but it is unclear whether the role was filled. A Linkedin search for a person working at Walmart with the role turns over no results. Back in October, Walmart also partnered with crypto ATM company Coinstar and crypto-cash exchange Coinme to install 200 Bitcoin ATMs in its stores across the United States.
In addition, Walmart has used blockchain technology for supply chain management, customer marketplaces, and smart appliances since 2018. According to analysts from Morgan Stanley, the Metaverse could present an $8 trillion opportunity for retailers.
During the third quarter of 2021, Walmart saw sales reach $11.1 billion according to Digital Commerce 360. Walmart is the largest private employer in the U.S. with a market capitalization of over $406 billion. It operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery stores.
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