Walmart has filed several trademarks covering blockchain, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), cryptocurrencies and the metaverse. The CNBC report that first broke the news mentioned seven separate applications, but we found 20 registered on 30 December 2021. Walmart published a job ad for a lead for digital currency and cryptocurrency five months earlier.
The company is extending its main Walmart trademark and the B2B Walmart Connect brand to a whole raft of new areas. Plus it’s launching three home delivery brands which are likely a nod to the metaverse: Verse to Home, Verse to Store, Verse to Curb.
Activities covered by the trademarks are extensive, with a slight emphasis on NFTs. However, it includes providing a community token and cryptocurrency exchange services. The trademark application with the longest list of services can be found here.
Walmart is not just considering providing these services to the public but also to other brands and businesses in the form of a platform as a service (PaaS). In other words, it plans to help other brands launch crypto-collectibles, crypto-art and application tokens. The company’s Walmart Connect solution already enables brands to position their products both in-store and online, so it’s not such a massive leap.
Unsurprisingly Walmart also envisions the ability to shop in 3D, in a “socially interactive online 3D virtual environment”. The trademark applications cover the spectrum from augmented reality, mixed reality through to virtual reality. To be “socially interactive,” users will need avatars that Walmart is happy to provide as well as skins or dress up for the characters. And the trademark covers non-downloadable virtual goods across every area you find in a Walmart store, from electronics to home decor, health and beauty.
It’s especially interested in providing healthcare in virtual reality. That makes sense, given it’s one of the areas that requires the most customer interaction.
Of course registering a trademark isn’t the same as launching a service, but it’s a sign of the company’s thinking.
Meanwhile, Walmart has been using blockchain behind the scenes for several years now. It was one of IBM’s first partners in IBM Food Trust and used the technology to make food recalls easier. It’s also been involved in blockchain pilots that help prevent drug counterfeits.