Walmart crypto rumors heat up as retailer files several trademarks

It seems Walmart is finally gearing up to launch its own cryptocurrency, at least based on trademark documents the retail giant filed in December 2021 with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This isn't the first time we've heard rumblings from Walmart related to the crypto market, but it is the most exciting development thus far.

The trademark discovery was made by CNBC, which reports that Walmart filed its trademarks with the UPSTO on December 30, 2021. The documentation states, among other things, that Walmart may launch "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."

Walmart, as expected, hasn't provided any details about its plans, instead telling CNBC in a generic statement that it is "continuously exploring how emerging technologies" may impact its business. The company went on to say that it tests "new ideas all the time," and that some of them may become actual products and/or services.

Despite the dismissive comments, Walmart's trademark paperwork hints at big plans behind closed doors — and this isn't the first time we've heard about the company potentially dabbling in cryptocurrency. In August 2021, Walmart published a job advertisement that sought a senior director for digital currencies. The language used in that job listing fueled speculation that Walmart may be exploring cryptocurrency as a payment option.

Walmart NFT collectibles inbound?

In one set of documents, Walmart also revealed potential plans to get into the non-fungible token (NFT) market, though it's unclear how that may play out. Though they remain controversial and their future unknown, NFTs have skyrocketed in popularity, tying artwork and other digital content to the blockchain in a way that makes them "collectibles."

More often than not, NFTs are pieces of artwork that are sold on select platforms for an amount paid in cryptocurrency. The buyer acquires the NFT and becomes the owner of the digital creation. However, many companies have embraced this blockchain tech as a way to offer promotional items.

For example, DC offered free NFT collectibles to fans who attended its FanDome 2021 event. Meanwhile, the NFL teamed with Ticketmaster to give certain game attendees a commemorative version of their tickets in NFT form. It's possible Walmart may offer free NFTs as promotional items, but it's also possible the company may have bigger plans, going so far as to sell tokens in the same way retailers used to sell sports cards.