Walmart is mulling cryptocurrency payment options as the demand for alternative payment options among retail companies picks up. Speaking at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit on Monday, Suresh Kumar, Walmart’s Global Chief Technology Officer, stated that crypto was “in the middle” of their digital strategy, adding that beyond payments, Walmart is looking into how they could utilize the metaverse in assisting customers in discovering their products.
“A lot of disruption is going to start happening in terms of different payment methods,” Kumar said. “In terms of different payment options, crypto is going to continue to play a very important role in that and obviously, we want to be there where the customer really needs us to be.”
“Crypto will become an important part of how customers transact. We want to make sure that we make it friction-free for our customers to be able to transact ad drive value out of it.” He added.
Kumar’s statement comes against the backdrop of retail giants increasingly showing interest in cryptocurrencies and the next iteration of the internet, popularly known as web3. Early this year, the company made headlines after it emerged that it had filed several trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in December, indicating its intent to sell virtual goods in the metaverse and create its cryptocurrency and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT).
In September, the Bentonville, Ark-based retail giant partnered with gaming platform Roblox to launch Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play in the metaverse as part of its experiment to reach more customers. Whereas Walmart is still connecting the dots between the physical and Virtual worlds, it has been hosting shoppable live stream events on Youtube, Twitter and TikTok to attract shoppers, particularly the youth.
Recently, the company introduced augmented reality features for its mobile app to enable customers to see how home décor and furniture would look in their homes. Since 2018, the company has also been using blockchain technology to track the origin of the products they sell, with plans to expand into using it to automate logistics transactions.
Despite the rout in cryptocurrency prices, which has been precipitated by major macro-economic and geopolitical events, institutions continue to throng into the sector with the hope of expanding their customer base and revenue streams. According to a report by Boston Consulting Group, the global metaverse market is expected to tap $400 billion by the end of 2024.
For major retail companies, the fastest route to achieving this has been venturing into the metaverse and NFTs. In December, Adidas released its maiden NFT collection titled “Into The Metaverse”, which comprises virtual wearables that can be used in the virtual world and with the physical product to match. Nike also partnered with Roblox to launch “Nikeland”, a metaverse-based shop with companies such as Meta and Microsoft making strategic moves to get a piece of the cake.