Walmart is Gearing Up For a Journey Into the Metaverse

Walmart (WMT) appears to be venturing into the metaverse with plans to create its own digital currency and collection of Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs. Last month, the big-box retailer filed several new trademarks that indicate its intent to make and sell virtual goods, including electronics, home decorations, toys, sporting goods, and personal care products.

In a separate filing, the company said it would offer users virtual currency, as well as NFTs. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Walmart filed the applications on Dec. 30. Seven different applications have been filed in all. Walmart stated that it is “continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences.” It chose not to comment on the trademark filings in question. “We are testing new ideas all the time,” the business stated. “Some ideas become products or services that make it to customers. And some we test, iterate, and learn from.”

Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney, described them (the trademark filings) as “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 digital currency, how they’re going to address the metaverse and the virtual world that appears to be coming or that’s already here.”

Many other businesses have been hurrying to find out how they would fit into a virtual world since Facebook (FB) announced it was changing its corporate name to Meta, reflecting its ambitions beyond social media. In early November, Nike (NKE) submitted a series of trademark applications that hinted at its ambitions to sell virtual branded footwear and gear. Later the same month, it announced a collaboration with Roblox to build Nikeland, an online realm. In December, it paid an unknown sum for the virtual sneaker business RTFKT (pronounced “artifact”). “All of a sudden, everyone is like, ‘This is becoming super real, and we need to make sure our IP is protected in the space,’” explained Gerben.

Gap (GPS) has recently begun producing non-traditional versions of their trademark logo sweaters. NFTs will be priced in tiers ranging from $8.30 to $415 and will include an actual hoodie, according to the fashion company. Last month, both Under Armour (UAA)’s and Adidas’ NFT debuts were sold out. On the NFT marketplace OpenSea, they’re suddenly fetching exorbitant rates. Urban Outfitters (URBN), Ralph Lauren (RL), and Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) have all registered trademarks in recent weeks, indicating their intentions to create a virtual shop.

Recently published research explained why retailers and brands would wish to embark on such projects, which might provide new revenue streams. Launching NFTs allows firms to tokenize authentic items and services to lower online transaction costs. NFTs can also function as a sort of verification for genuine and more expensive items for luxury businesses like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, according to CB Insights.

More stores will want to develop their environment around the metaverse and products saved on the blockchain. As more customers get familiar with the metaverse and items stored on the blockchain, more retailers will want to create their own ecosystem around it.

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