Walmart, one of the world’s biggest retail supermarkets, is positioning itself to make an entry into the metaverse space.
A report by CNBC revealed that the corporation plans to create its own cryptocurrency and Non-Fungible Token (NFT) collection.
The report revealed that the retail giant filed new trademarks late last month that indicate its intent to make and sell virtual goods and personal care products. In a separate filing, the company also stated it would offer users virtual currency, as well as NFTs.
In a statement, Walmart said it is “continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences.” However, the firm declined to comment on the specific trademark filings.
What you should know
- Walmart filed a total of seven patent applications at the time, including three under its existing advertising division “Walmart Connect” on the 30th of December 2021.
- 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.
- There is also a separate application which 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.
Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney stated, “They’re super intense. 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.”
The race for traditional organizations to find their place in the virtual world
Since Facebook’s name change, many organizations are racing to determine how they can position themselves to deliver value to their already established client base, in the virtual world so as they do not get left behind in the journey of trends and innovations. Gerben also shares the same thought, stating that businesses have been rushing to figure out how they will fit into a virtual world.
Walmart is not the first to file patents in relation to cryptocurrency and NFTs. Popular sneakers maker, Nike, also filed a slew of trademark applications in the early days of November 2021, that previewed its plans to sell virtual branded sneakers and apparel.
Later that month, the firm teamed up with Roblox to create an online world called Nikeland. Also in December, it bought the virtual sneaker company RTFKT (pronounced “artefact”) for an undisclosed amount.
Clothing and accessories retailer, Gap, has also started selling NFTs of its iconic logo sweatshirts. The apparel maker stated that its NFTs will be priced in tiers ranging from roughly $8.30 to $415 and will come with a physical hoodie.
Gerben revealed that other companies like Urban Outfitters, Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch have also filed trademarks in recent weeks detailing their intent to open some sort of virtual store.
Both Under Armour and Adidas have debuted their NFTs and were sold out last month. They’re now fetching sky-high prices on the NFT marketplace OpenSea.
Gerben explained that as more consumers familiarize themselves with the metaverse and items stored on the blockchain, more retailers will want to create their own ecosystem around it.
Walmart trades on the New York Stock Exchange at $145.06 in the last trading session, down marginally by 0.28%.