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Walmart files applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office
Online marketplace for digital goods planned
US retail giant looks set to launch its own cryptocurrency and NFT collection
Businesses are moving into the Metaverse
In November, the US sporting goods manufacturer Nike announced a partnership with the online gaming platform Roblox. With “NIKELAND”, the company has a “tailor-made world in front of the backdrop of its global headquarters  “created in the immersive 3D space of Roblox” and builds on its goal of “making sport and play a lifestyle,” Nike said in a press release. In NIKELAND, users can customize their avatar with special Nike products the company has also strengthened with the takeover of RTFKT Studios, which specializes in virtual products and NFTs.
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In addition, adidas had already confirmed a cooperation with the Bored Ape Yacht Club, the NFT comics PUNKS Comic and the crypto investor and NFT collector gmoney at the beginning of December and thus dared the leap into the virtual world to equip characters there with their own clothing .
US apparel maker Gap also recently rolled out the first NFTs of its iconic logo sweatshirts on the Tezos blockchain, as reported by The Street, ranging in price from $8.30 to $415 and featuring a hoodie in limited edition to collect.
Walmart: Blockchain, Crypto, NFTS & Metaverse
Now the US retail giant Walmart also wants to penetrate the Metaverse, while the company has been dealing with new technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies for some time. But even if many people think directly of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ether & Co. when they hear the term blockchain, blockchain technology goes beyond cryptocurrencies and is used in the supply chain at Walmart. Nonetheless, the US retail giant is also active in the cryptocurrency space. According to Reuters, Walmart announced in October that customers will be able to buy Bitcoin in some US stores with ATMs installed by Coinstar. The project started with 200 of the machines. According to t3n, Walmart wants to set up up to 8,000 Bitcoin machines in its branches.
Now, Walmart appears planning to create its own cryptocurrency and NFT collection to venture into the Metaverse. The company filed several new trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in late December 2021. As CNBC reports, seven individual applications have been filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office. In one of those filings, Walmart announced its intention to “manufacture and sell virtual goods,” according to CNBC. In its application, the company writes about “providing an online marketplace for buyers and sellers of downloadable digital goods authenticated by Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)”. Products such as electronics, indoor and outdoor furniture, toys, sporting goods, apparel, video games, books and much more will be available in the virtual retail store. Another submission is about offering a virtual currency. In its application, Walmart writes, among other things, about “the provision of virtual currency for use by members of an online community via a global computer network”, financial “virtual currency exchange in the field of non-fungible tokens (NFTs); services for financial transactions relating to cryptocurrency , Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and Blockchain Technology”.
As CNBC reports, Walmart declined to comment on the specific trademark filings. The company merely stated that it is “continuously investigating how new technologies can shape future shopping experiences” and that it is “constantly testing new ideas”. “Some ideas become products or services that resonate with customers. And some test, iterate and learn from them,” CNBC quoted Walmart as saying.
Opportunity for companies
Trademark attorney Josh Gerben told CNBC about Walmart’s filing, “They’re super intense.” “There’s a lot of language in there, which shows that there’s a lot of planning going on behind the scenes about how they’re going to approach cryptocurrency, how they’re going to approach the metaverse and the virtual world that seems to be coming or is already there.” Tanning to CNBC. The trademark attorney sees many companies looking into the virtual world since Facebook announced it would be renamed Meta. “Suddenly everyone is saying: ‘This is becoming more and more real and we have to make sure that our IP is protected in the room,'” says Gerben.
According to a report by CB Insights, according to CNBC, the introduction of NFTs allows companies to tokenize physical products and services to reduce online transaction costs. In addition, according to CB Insights, NFTs could serve as a form of authentication for luxury brands for material and expensive goods. And as more consumers became familiar with the Metaverse and NFTs, more retailers wanted to create their own ecosystem, says Gerben.
According to CNBC, Frank Chaparro, director of crypto information services company The Block, believes that many retailers have been late when it comes to e-commerce and now don’t want to miss an opportunity in the Metaverse. “I think it’s a win-win for any retail business,” said Chaparro. “And even if it turns out to be just a fad, just trying something weird like giving some customers an NFT in a sweepstakes doesn’t do much reputation damage.”
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