Business

Erik Gibbs

Walmart follows Facebook down the crypto rabbit hole

Facebook may have run into a seriously thick brick wall when it unveiled its Libra stablecoin, but this isn’t stopping Walmart from trying to introduce its own version. Regulators around the globe attacked Libra almost as soon as it was released, raising concerns over issues such as consumer privacy, compliance to financial regulations and much more. Walmart, with its deep pockets, may have taken all of those concerns and decided to come up with a solution that would address them all. Whether or not it finds success is another story.

Walmart has patented a stablecoin, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). According to its description, the system is “A method comprising: generating one digital currency unit by tying the one digital currency unit to a regular currency; storing information of the one digital currency unit into a block of a blockchain; buying or paying the one digital currency unit; determining whether restrictions are applied to the one digital currency unit by referring to one or more documents associated with the one digital currency; recording the determination in a block of the blockchain; overlaying the one digital currency unit with customer purchase history; calculating savings based on the one digital currency unit again naked forecast; applying the savings to customer purchases; using the one digital currency unit for accepted goods or services with the saving if the one digital currency unit is restricted; using the one digital currency unit for any goods or services with the saving if the one digital currency unit is unrestricted; and storing the one digital currency into a digital currency reserve.”

That specifically describes a stablecoin and Walmart asserts that the “regular currency” is going to be the U.S. dollar. There are also plans by the company to use its coin to pay its employees, which makes for a very interesting situation for the future of payments.

Walmart has seriously deep pockets and commands more respect than does Facebook. It is already involved heavily in financial endeavors, including through partnerships with MoneyGram, PayPal, CoinStar and more. It even has its own approved debit card.

Walmart is no stranger to digital currencies or the blockchain. It has already filed a number of blockchain-related patents and is deploying the technology to help it improve its supply chains. Some of its patents cover the use of blockchain in managing medical records, electrical grids, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and much more. Although a commercially-backed stablecoin has already found significant resistance, Walmart might actually be able to pull it off.

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