Walmart Patent Flurry: Willingness to Embrace Cryptocurrency, NFTs, and the Metaverse

Walmart launches collection of non-fungible NFT tokens

Walmart has developed plans that include creating its own crypto asset, launching collections of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and (yes, you guessed it) entering the metaverse, according to reports citing filings with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

CNBC revealed that Walmart, which was one of the first major retailers to explore the use of blockchain technology in its supply chains, filed a number of trademark applications last month, indicating the firm wants to make and sell virtual goods, including electronic devices. toys, sporting goods and care products.

One patent application detailed Walmart’s intention to patent the following:

“Financial services, namely the provision of digital currency and a digital token of value for use by members of an online community through a global computer network.”

Another noted plans to create “downloadable software for use in portfolio management of digital currency, virtual currency, cryptocurrencies, digital and blockchain assets, digitized assets, digital tokens, crypto tokens, and utility tokens,” as well as “downloadable software for services e-wallets” and downloadable e-wallets”.

Bloomberg called the patent applications a “flurry” and noted that they were filed on December 30th. Three of them were filed under the Walmart Connect brand, its “existing digital advertising venture”, and concerned the creation of a “virtual currency and advertising exchange”.

Walmart has applied for a trademark to use the firm’s name and logo in both healthcare and education on virtual and augmented reality platforms.

CNBC quoted a trademark attorney named Josh Gerben as explaining that the applications were “over-intensive” due to the applications having “a lot of wording.” This, he noted, “shows that there are a lot of plans going on behind the scenes” about how Walmart is “going to tackle the cryptocurrency problem, how they are going to handle the metaverse and the virtual world that seems to be coming or even already here.”

In the world of business, patents are not always directly equated with business plans. Often, firms file patents before they have plans approved to ensure that the trademarks and innovations they want to use are not stymied by others.

For example, Spanish retail giant El Corte Inglés copyrighted a number of Bitcoin (BTC)-related trademarks and brand registrations last year, but has yet to unveil any cryptocurrency-related business moves in the following months.

In August, Walmart posted a job opening for a position in which the new hire will develop a “digital currency strategy and product roadmap” and find “cryptocurrency-related investments and partnerships.” Last year, the firm launched a pilot bitcoin ATM at a number of its stores.

Redditors took the move with some skepticism. Many agreed that the firm’s crypto plans should focus on the adoption of existing tokens such as BTC. One wrote:

“Why should we buy Walmart cryptocurrency when we [already] have so many working cryptocurrencies […]? Just accept cryptocurrency!”

There was also no shortage of one of America’s favorite pastimes: mocking Walmart. Redditor on the social media platform joked:

“Just imagine walking into a Walmart in the metaverse. [I] didn’t believe Walmart could get any worse.”

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