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Walmart is preparing to enter the metaverse

Walmart is preparing to enter the metaverse

January 18, 2022: -Walmart appears to be venturing into the metaverse with plans to create its cryptocurrency 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, which include electronics, home decorations, toys, sporting goods, and personal care products. In a different filing, the company said it would offer users virtual currency and NFTs.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Walmart filed the applications on December 30.

In a statement, Walmart said it is “continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences.” It declined to comment on the specific trademark filings.

“We are testing new ideas all the time,” the company said. “Few ideas become products or services that make it to customers. And few we test, iterate, and learn from.”

“They’re super intense,” said Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney. “There’s a lot of language in these, showing that there’s a lot of planning going on behind the scenes regarding 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.”

Gerben said that since Facebook announced it changed its company name to Meta, which signaled its ambitions beyond social media, businesses have been rushing to figure out how they will fit into a virtual world.

In early November, Nike filed a slew of trademark applications that previewed its plans to sell virtual branded sneakers and apparel. It said it was teaming up with Roblox to create an online world called Nikeland. It bought the virtual sneaker company RTFKT for an undisclosed amount in December.

“All of a sudden, everyone is such, ‘This is becoming super real, and we need to make sure our IP is protected in the space,'” said Gerben.

Gap has started selling NFTs of its iconic logo sweatshirts. The apparel maker said its NFTs would be priced in tiers ranging from $8.30 to $415 and come with a physical hoodie.

A report from CB Insights outlined a few of the reasons why retailers and brands might want to make such ventures, which can offer new revenue streams.

Launching NFTs is allowing businesses to tokenize physical products and services to help reduce online transaction costs, it said. And for luxury brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton, NFTs can serve as a form of authentication for tangible and more expensive goods, CB Insights noted.

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