Like as not, you’ve heard the news: Walmart has laid the groundwork to create its own “cryptocurrency.”
The move to patent a blockchain-based stablecoin variant generates speculation. Is Walmart trying to compete with Facebook Libra? Will CEO Doug McMillon be hauled in before legislators to defend his company’s right to innovate? Will the token ever actually launch at all?
Too early to tell.
Does Walmart Really Have Plans to Disrupt the Crypto Industry?
Here’s what we do know: Walmart already plays a fundamental role in money services in the United States. It makes up a considerable part of the MoneyGram network.
Walmart cashes checks for millions of regular working Americans.
It offers services including PayPal via its network of ATMs and has a debit card similar to ACE Cash Express or Green Dot Bank.
Walmart also lets people dump old coins in sorting machines and receive a payout for a fee. Some of CoinStar’s locations already pay in Bitcoin.
WTF – Facebook announces Libra cryptocurrency and all hell breaks loose. Walmart releases cryptocurrency and no one cares ??? 🙃 “All or part of a paycheck can go into a Walmart currency” https://t.co/6A1kvI9PV3 pic.twitter.com/10ODa4Sxuq
— Brian Cohen (@inthepixels) August 2, 2019
Company Scrip for the 21st Century or Imminent Financial Liberation?
These are just some parts of Bentonville’s existing financial infrastructure.
Let’s not forget their over 2 million employees who could be paid in this new currency and immediately find themselves with access to the budding global crypto economy.
The only thing that could make this better for the retailer and crypto adoption is if Walmart acquired Facebook.
There is a massive class of people in the United States who do a huge portion of their shopping at Walmart. The convenience and competitiveness of the chain, combined with the legend of founder Sam Walton and its ubiquity, make it a reliable option for American families, particularly those with financial struggles.
Walmart has previously entered the blockchain space, at least in a research capacity. Like all large corporations, they have their hands into as many enterprises as make sense for them.
Previously, the Arkansas mega-corp filed blockchain patents for medical records, a digital marketplace, an electrical grid, and “smart appliance management.” The move might be interpreted as part of the company’s larger strategy to compete with Amazon.com by leveraging its mammoth distribution network.
Sorry, Facebook. If you thought creating Libra was a big deal, whatever Walmart does in terms of virtual currency will be much, much bigger.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.
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