In a Quiet Move, Walmart Is Planning to Join the Metaverse

The big-box retailer is reportedly venturing into the virtual realm with plans to launch its own cryptocurrency and collection of non-fungible tokens. Walmart filed a number of new trademarks toward the end of last month, which indicates its intention to sell virtual goods.

Walmart filed seven separate patent applications on Dec. 30 to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In a statement, Walmart said it will “continually explore how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences.”

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

“They’re super intense,” said Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney. “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.”

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Since Facebook announced its new company name, Meta, which signals it wants to expand beyond social media, businesses have been trying to figure out how they can fit into a virtual world.

In early November, Nike announced it would create an online world called Nikeland in partnership with Roblox. Later that month, it announced it had begun filing trademark applications for the same.

Then by the end of 2021, RTFKT (pronounced “Artifact”) was bought for an undisclosed sum.

“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,’” said Gerben.

The apparel maker has also started selling NFT versions of its iconic sweatshirts. NFT prices range from roughly $8.30 to $415 and the order also includes a physical hoodie.

Also, on the NFT marketplace OpenSea, Under Armour’s and Adidas’ debuts sold out last month. They are now fetching sky-high prices.

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