According to a filing made by Walmart on August 1, the company could soon join the cryptocurrency market. If the coin were to become a reality, it could make it more efficient and cheaper for its customers to pay for goods as well as making it easier to take part in a loyalty program.
Walmart is not in a Hurry
While Walmart has acknowledged they made the filing, there has been no indication that they are in a hurry to roll out their coin. Since the filing, no other announcements have been made by the company regarding the project.
The company’s patent filing was for a method that would make it possible to come with digital coins and record them on the blockchain. Their blockchain would be quite similar to the one that is used by Bitcoin.
The company is already operating in the blockchain space. They already use the technology in the supply chain to track the authenticity of the produce they sell. Many other companies are also seriously looking into the technology. Most other retailers are looking into how they can use the technology for their loyalty programs instead of as a means of payment. However, a few are looking into the use of tokens to make payments faster and cheaper.
Existing payment processors such as Visa, charge a high fee to companies that use their services. If major retailers could manage to adopt tokens for payment purposes, it could potentially save them billions of dollars in costs over time.
Walmart is Not the First
While Walmart has just recently announced their plans, one company that seems to be in the advanced stages of implementing their idea is Facebook. A couple months ago, they announced their Facebook Libra project. This project wants to make it possible for people globally to use Libra coins to pay for services and goods. However, lawmakers have not responded to this project very well. Some lawmakers suspect that Facebook is attempting to create a parallel banking system with no central bank control. As a result, Facebook Libra might never launch, according to statements from Facebook.
As we mentioned in a previous article, Amazon has also announced various developments that makes you believe they are interested in the space long term. It will be interesting to see if Walmart makes a more aggressive entrance into crypto than Amazon. Over the years, Amazon innovation has hurt Walmart growth especially in the online space. Amazon is innovating like no other, and is on the journey to become the largest player in nearly everything. This year alone Amazon has put a dent into Walmart growth by acquisition such as Whole Foods and partnerships with Nike. Walmart taking initiative and capitalizing on crypto opportunities could give it a much needed competitive edge if implemented effectively. Walmart obviously has the customer base to make a global impact if they implement cryptocurrency solutions first..
The Coin May Find More Favor with Legislators
According to a recent Bloomberg report, if Walmart were to launch a digital coin, it might face as much of a backlash as the Facebook Libra project. The report even noted that this coin might find more favor with democratic legislators who are looking for a payment method for customers that do not have access to banks or simply do not use them.
The coin would work in the same manner as a stored-value card and its value would be pegged to the USD, according to Bloomberg. This makes it work in a similar manner to Facebook Libra. However, the difference is that Walmart will be governed inside the US. One important difference between the Walmart coin and Facebook Libra is that Libra is governed outside the US. Some legislators have accused Facebook of trying to avoid US regulation, which Facebook has vehemently denied.
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