Walmart Is Making Quiet Moves Into the Metaverse

A new report suggests that big box retail giant Walmart may be preparing to venture into the metaverse. According to CNBC, Walmart filed seven trademarks in late December 2021that appear to indicate the retailer's intent to both make and sell virtual goods while a separate filing indicated that the company would be offering users virtual currency and NFTs. The applications were filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on December 30th.

One of the trademark applications lists "on-line retail store services featuring virtual merchandise, namely, electronics, appliances, indoor and outdoor furniture, home decor, toys, sporting goods, outdoor recreation, health, beauty and personal care products, household essentials, apparel, patio, garden, lawn care and landscaping products, home improvement products, grilling products, entertainment recordings, video games, books and publications, musical instruments, office supplies, arts and craft supplies, holiday and celebration supplies, jewelry, and pet products. Another more clearly outlines digital currency, noting "financial services, namely, providing a digital currency and a digital token of value for use by members of an online community via a global computer network." Yet another indicates software and wallets used in cryptocurrency: "downloadable software for use in managing portfolios of digital currency, virtual currency, cryptocurrency, digital and blockchain assets, digitized assets, digital tokens, crypto tokens and utility tokens, downloadable software for electronic wallet services; downloadable e-wallets."

According to trademark attorney Josh Gerben, the applications indicate that there is a lot of planning on Walmart's end for how they are going to work with the metaverse.

"There's super intense," Gerben said. "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."

Walmart isn't alone in its efforts to branch out into the metaverse. Nike filed several trademark applications in November 2021 and announced a team up with Roblox to create the online world, Nikeland before purchasing virtual sneaker company RTFKT in December. Urban Outfitters, Ralph Lauren, and Abercrombie & Fitch have also filed trademarks in recent weeks while Gap has started NFTs of their logo sweatshirts, though those NFTs come with a physical hoodie as well.

This surge in businesses looking to the digital space is relatively new, and shifting its focus on "an embodied internet where you're in the experience, not just looking at it," Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the time. "We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build. The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence—like you are right there with another person or in another place. Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this."

What do you think about Walmart entering the metaverse? Let us know in the comments.