Retail giant Walmart appears to be preparing to enter the metaverse with patent applications indicating that it plans to create its own pool of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The multinational retailer filed several new brands with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on December 30, but went unnoticed until Sunday’s CNBC report shed more light on Walmart’s ambitions.
At the time, Walmart has filed a total of seven patent applications, including three under Walmart Connect’s existing advertising division.
The bids included plans to create and sell “virtual goods” including electronics, toys, appliances, clothing and home furnishings. It also mentions “digital currency” and “digital token”, as well as the ability to buy and sell NFT.
Meanwhile, a separate app offers plans for the Walmart brand and logo in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), with the ability to implement “physical training services” in VR and AR.
This is the latest in a string of recent developments indicating Walmart’s interest in the Metaverse. In August, the retail giant published a job opportunity for a “leading cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency specialist” to implement its digital currency strategy.
The job listing has since been removed, but it’s not clear if the role has been filled. A LinkedIn search for someone working at Walmart in this role yielded no results.
Back in October, Walmart also partnered with cryptocurrency teller company Coinstar and Coinme to install 200 Bitcoin ATMs in its stores across the United States.
Additionally, since 2018, Walmart has been using blockchain technology to manage the supply chain, customer markets, and smart devices.
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According to analysts at Morgan Stanley, the metaverse could provide retailers with an $8 trillion opportunity.
In the third quarter of 2021, Walmart had sales of $11.1 billion, according to Digital Commerce 360. Walmart is the largest private employer in the United States with a market capitalization of more than $406 billion. It operates a chain of supermarkets, discount stores and grocery stores.