American multinational retail giant Walmart is readying to make its debut into the metaverse after disclosing plans to roll out non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and a cryptocurrency. A report unveiled this news on January 16, noting the firm filed seven trademarks detailing its metaverse ambitions with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on December 30.
According to the report, the trademark filings comprised the retailer’s plans to create and sell virtual goods, including electronics, home decorations, toys, sporting goods, and personal care products. In a separate filing, Walmart said it plans to offer NFTs and a cryptocurrency.
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Commenting on its decision to embrace web3, Walmart said it intends to continue exploring how emerging technologies can help transform the future shopping experience on its platform.
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.
While the company declined to offer further details about the seven trademark filings it submitted, trademark attorney Josh Gerben said,
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.
A race to secure a place in the metaverse
According to Gerben, mainstream companies have been rushing to secure a spot in the metaverse after Facebook rebranded to Meta and announced its ambitions in the virtual world. Before Walmart, Nike filed four patent applications for virtual goods with USTPO in October 2021. Apart from this, the company rolled out NIKELAND in association with Roblox before acquiring digital art studio RTFKT.
Apparel retailers Urban Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch, Ralph Lauren also filed patents over the past few weeks, outlining their plans to open virtual stores.
Explaining why companies are rushing into the metaverse and embracing NFTs, a report detailed that retailers and brands stand to benefit from the sectors equally. Per the publication, the primary reason is creating a revenue stream.
However, the metaverse and NFTs can help retailers tokenize physical items and services to cut online transaction costs. On the other hand, luxury brands can use NFTs as a means of authenticating their products.
The Block’s Director, Frank Chapparo, pointed out that many retailers are feeling the pinch of missing out on the opportunities that came with embracing e-commerce early. To this end, they are trying to avoid missing out on the opportunities that come with the metaverse.
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