Walmart files patents for its own cryptocurrency and NFT collection

Walmart has plans to create its own cryptocurrency and a collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) according to CNBC.

The US retailing giant filed a number of new trademarks last month that show its intent in moving into the metaverse and offering virtual goods including including electronics, home decorations, toys, sporting goods and personal care products.

In a completely separate filing, the big boy retailer said it would offer its users a virtual currency alongside its collection of NFTs.

A total of seven applications were filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office on 30 December last year.

The big-box retailer told CNBC it was “continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences.”

“We are testing new ideas all the time,” Walmart added.

“Some ideas become products or services that make it to customers. And some we test, iterate, and learn from.”

READ MORE: Walmart customers can now purchase Bitcoin at ATM machines

Trademarks attorney Josh Gerben told CNBC that the patents were “super intense,” meanwhile adding: “There’s a lot of language in these, 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.”

Gerben pointed out that Meta’s announcement that it was focussing on virtual and augmented reality (AR) worlds prompted a rush of businesses trying to figure out how they will integrate themselves into metaverse.

“All of a sudden, everyone is like, ‘This is becoming super real and we need to make sure our IP is protected in the space,’” he said.

Retailers including Nike, Gap, Adidas, Under Armour, Urban Outfitters, Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch have all made noises in the metaverse direction, with some even releasing their own virtual offerings including NFT collections.

Cryptography information services firm The Block’s director Frank Chaparro believes that retailers are still reeling from missing out on the initial ecommerce boom and do not want to miss out on the opportunity to make gains in the metaverse early.

“I think it’s a win-win for any company in retail,” he told CNBC.

“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.”

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