Walmart is looking at getting into the metaverse and making its own cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), CNBC reported Sunday (Jan. 16).
Walmart, which is the largest private employer in the United States, filed a number of trademarks in late December. The documents show that the company has the intent to both make a virtual currency and to sell virtual goods like electronics, home decorations, toys, sporting goods and personal care products.
Walmart said in a statement that it is “continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences.”
“We are testing new ideas all the time,” the company told CNBC. “Some ideas become products or services that make it to customers. And some we test, iterate and learn from.”
Late last year, Facebook announced that it would be changing its name to Meta and pivoting to a model focused around virtual worlds and technologies. Analysts say this has led to a glut of other companies, including Nike and Gap, to add their own contributions to the virtual world.
CB Insights noted that retailers have made the choice to get into the metaverse because it could offer new revenue streams. Trademark attorney Josh Gerben told CNBC that as more customers become familiar with the metaverse, there will be more retailers trying to make their own ecosystems in that space.
PYMNTS recently reported that both Walmart and Amazon have been juggling both long-term and COVID-related business challenges.
Walmart announced that it had to shut down and deep clean 60 stores to ensure that there was no danger of COVID being contracted there, which comes out to around 1.2% of the U.S. stores.
However, the daily contagion rate was only getting worse throughout the beginning of January. Because of that, there could be more instances of COVID-related temporary store closures in the near future.