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U.S. retail giant Walmart appears to be laying the groundwork for its entry into the Metaverse. In the last month, Walmart has filed several documents with the US Patent and Trademark Office, which indicates the retailer will soon launch its own cryptocurrency and NFT(non-fungible tokens) collection. Walmart has filed around seven applications along with several trademark applications. Three of them belong to "Walmart Connect" (the company's digital advertising business); this signifies the company's intention to sell products virtually, including home decor, electronics, toys, personal care products, etc.
Walmart has been gearing up its exploration of cryptocurrency adoption for the past few months. In August 2021, the company posted a digital product and cryptocurrency-related job listing. One particular trademark description reads: "Financial services, namely, providing a digital token and a digital currency of value for use by members of an online community through a global computer network." In October last year, Walmart launched the opening of Coinstar Bitcoin ATMs at selected stores in the US.
Walmart is keen to explore emerging technologies and looks forward to seeing how technology can shape future shopping experiences. The trademark application also signifies possible "physical fitness and training services" and "classes regarding health and nutrition" in VR/AR environments.
Walmart might be the unique one planning to launch its cryptocurrency. Still, many other companies have already entered into Metaverse and launched their NFTs, like Adidas, Nike, Gap, and even Gucci and Burberry, have ventured into Metaverse through their NFTs. The market of transactions in the Metaverse is expected to reach USD 6.1 billion in 2022.
Earlier in November 2021, Nike filed a series of trademark applications, indicating its plans to sell sneakers and apparel virtually. Soon NFT platform RTFKT Studios (integrates reality into games and fashion) announced that it had been acquired by sports brand Nike.
Retailers focus their resources on selling goods virtually as they see it as a new revenue stream. Similarly, clothing company GAP entered into the business of the virtual world by selling NFTs of its iconic sweatshirts. The sale of NFTs not only tokenizes physical products but also helps in reducing online transaction costs.