Walmart store exterior

Walmart patent filings show retail giant eyes venture into the metaverse

The metaverse is the latest buzzword in the technology world, and even those who are not making major moves want some affiliation. The latest behemoth to delve into the sector is Walmart, with a string of patent applications exploring making and selling virtual goods. Walmart is also weighing issuing its own virtual currency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

According to the patent applications filed on December 30, Walmart doesn’t intend to be left behind by its fellow giants that are quickly moving into the virtual world, led by Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, now Meta.

The patents are diverse, including making and selling virtual goods such as electronics, apparel, sporting equipment, and toys. A separate patent application looks into offering shoppers a virtual currency and delving into NFTs. The virtual currency effort comes after a hoax that linked cryptocurrency Litecoin to the retail giant, which Walmart quickly denied, dealing a blow to LTC’s already shaky reputation.

Walmart also appears to be exploring virtual shopping experiences, filing trademarks for the names “Verse to Store,” Verse to Curb” and “Verse to Home.”

In total, Walmart filed seven separate patent applications. In a statement to media outlets, the retailer, which is the biggest employer in the U.S. with over 2.3 million employees, admitted to exploring the metaverse.

“Walmart is continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences. We are testing new ideas all the time. Some ideas become products or services that make it to customers. And some we test, iterate, and learn from,” Walmart’s spokesperson Carrie McKnight told media outlet, The Verge.

The company declined to make any comments specific to the latest filings.

Patent and trademark experts pointed out that the extent of the Walmart patents indicates that the company is going all-in on the metaverse and the virtual world.

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

The metaverse is fast becoming a space for everyone and everything, with people seeking to take more of their real-life events and phenomena to the virtual space. While Bill Gates predicted a few weeks back that the metaverse will host most office meetings within three years, it’s now hosting even weddings.

India is set to see its first metaverse wedding event, with the bride and groom choosing to host their reception in the virtual space. The two will have their avatars dressed in traditional attire, while guests who receive the login credentials will be allowed to choose their avatars and celebrate with the happy couple.

According to the New York Times, this phenomenon is growing. With the pandemic wrecking people’s plans, some choose to take to the metaverse to host their special day. However, metaverse weddings are not yet legally recognized by U.S. laws.

The metaverse is intertwined with blockchain, with the technology offering a decentralized timestamped ledger upon which these bold new virtual worlds can be built. They go beyond weddings and allow the users to explore innovative ways of advertising, playing games, interacting, attending events, traveling, and more.

The Bitcoin SV ecosystem was already miles ahead of the curve even before the metaverse was the new cool thing. Transmira has been leading this exciting sector, with the company’s Omniscape platform already offering users an exciting blend of augmented and virtual realities, or as the founder, Robert Rice, calls it, experiential reality.

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