Walmart is reportedly preparing to become a player in the spaces of two “Web 3.0” technologies – non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrency.
According to CNBC, Walmart recently submitted a number of U.S. trademark filings relating to NFTs and cryptocurrency. In late December 2021, Walmart reportedly filed trademarks indicating it wants to create a variety of NFT products, across categories such as electronics, home goods, toys, and sporting goods.
NFTs are unique digital assets stored on a blockchain ledger which certifies the owner. There is no way for an NFT to have more than one owner, and only the certified owner can sell it.
[Read more: 2022 – The year of Web 3.0?]
On Dec 30, 2021, Walmart also reportedly filed a trademark application for downloadable software that could be used to manage cryptocurrency-related technologies including digital currency, virtual currency, digital and blockchain assets, digitized assets, digital tokens, and downloadable e-wallets.
Walmart has previously expressed interest in cryptocurrency without directly announcing the fact. In an August 2021 LinkedIn job listing, Walmart advertised the new position of digital currency and cryptocurrency product lead.
According to the posting, the new position will be responsible for “developing the digital currency strategy and product roadmap.” Specific responsibilities include owning and driving the digital currency strategy for Walmart, identifying customer needs and translating them into product requirements, and identifying crypto-related investments and partnerships.
Walmart does not currently accept bitcoin or other cryptocurrency payments. In July 2021, chief rival Amazon (which also isn’t accepting cryptocurrency payments at this time) posted an advertisement for a similarly-titled position of digital currency and blockchain product lead.
Bitcoin is nearly-anonymous, decentralized, peer-to-peer online currency which is based on blockchain technology. Blockchain serves a real-time, single ledger verifying all transactions conducted on the blockchain network. Other retailers that have recently begun accepting or plan to accept bitcoin payments include Newegg, Sheetz, and Camping World.
However, there has not previously been any public signaling from Walmart that it may be interested in NFTs. Many other retailers have been joining the NFT bandwagon, however. Gap just released the first digital item in a planned collection of NFTs, and GameStop is reportedly planning to create a marketplace for NFTs. In October 2021, specialty fashion brand DKNY unveiled a new logo inspired by its mural which was on display for over a decade on Houston Street in New York City.
In addition, pizza chain Domino’s resurrected its own former “Noid” advertising campaign in a recent series of NFTs, and eBay and Shopify both now permit their purchase and sale. And CKE Restaurants banners Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have partnered with actress Charlotte Mckinney for an NFT promotion.
Walmart has not publicly discussed its possible Web 3.0 plans. However, the retailer told CNBC it is “continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences. We are testing new ideas all the time. Some ideas become products or services that make it to customers. And some we test, iterate and learn from.”