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Walmart does not appear to want to be left out of the cryptocurrency frenzy. According to CNBC, Walmart filed several trademark applications with the USPTO in late December for the sale of virtual goods, and in another filing stated that it would provide a cryptocurrency as well as NFTs. While the documents do not guarantee action, trademark attorney Josh Gerben told CNBC that the trademarks were extremely detailed Walmart was clearly considering how it would deal with digital currencies and products.
In late December 2021, Walmart filed seven trademarks that appear to indicate the retailer’s intent to both make and sell virtual goods, while a separate filing indicated that the company would offer users virtual currency and NFTs. According to the documentation, Walmart may launch “financial services, such as providing a digital currency and a digital token of value for use by members of an online community via a global computer network.”
It would not be surprising if Walmart invested in cryptocurrencies or NFTs. Following Facebook’s name change to Meta and signaling its intention to foster meta-verses, major brands have rushed to enter the space with currencies, NFTs, or both. Adidas, Nike, Gap, and other well-known brands have begun selling NFTs and have hinted at plans to create virtual spaces. Walmart may not want to miss out if this trend continues, even if it is not in a rush to join early adopters.
Walmart’s cryptocurrency plans were the subject of a high-profile hoax in September when a fake announcement caused a brief surge in the price of Litecoin, a relatively obscure cryptocurrency. According to the forged press release, Walmart would begin accepting Litecoin payments.
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Meanwhile, another application describes the availability of “physical fitness training services” as well as health and nutrition classes. These applications, according to The Verge, could take place in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) environments.
Nonetheless, Walmart has continued to investigate capabilities in this area. In October, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer launched a pilot programme in which customers could purchase Bitcoin from Coinstar kiosks in select U.S. stores. The Coinstar trial includes 200 kiosks in Walmart stores. Coinstar is known for its machines that allow customers to exchange US coins for paper bills or gift cards.
Walmart Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs stated at an analyst conference in early December that the company was open to allowing customers to pay in cryptocurrency if customers demanded it, but that the company did not see a need to rush out any capabilities.