Walmart is joining the NFT and metaverse craze. That’s right, the place known for its everyday low prices, is now looking to join the future. I mean, why not? They already control the present retail environment, why not control the future while they are at it.
For those still not versed in NFTs, NFT stands for a Non-Fungible Token, which is a digital asset that has a unique file backed up by blockchain. NFTs can be any type of digital information, such as a picture file, audio, or video file.
So, you might be thinking: “Why would I want to buy virtual groceries and general merchandise?”
That is a good question my fellow Money Movers.
Honestly, I am sorry to disappoint you all, but I have no idea myself. I am still skeptical about this whole NFT thing. That doesn’t mean I recommend against purchasing NFTs, but like many of you, I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around purchasing a digital White Castle burger and other digital goods.
(Yeah, seriously, White Castle is selling hamburger NFTs. I previously wrote about it. If you missed that piece the first time— and how dare you if you did—you can read it here.)
CNBC reported, “The big-box retailer filed several new trademarks late last month that indicate its intent to make and sell virtual goods, including electronics, home decorations, toys, sporting goods and personal care products. In a separate filing, the company said it would offer users a virtual currency, as well as NFTs.”
Wait, what? Hold the phone!
Not only is Walmart pursuing NFTs, but they are going to be issuing their own currency?
Who died and made them the Federal Reserve?
On second thought, I rather like the idea of Walmart issuing currency over the Fed. Everything will be cheaper that way. Inflation problems solved.
Will they call their currency Great Value dollar? Or Wally World money? Or maybe Waldo coins?
I kind of like Waldo coins myself. But that’s just me.
Walmart said it is “continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences.” Further adding, “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.”
So, you also might be thinking to yourself, “What the heck is the metaverse?”
You are a very insightful audience, my fellow Money Movers.
That is a good question that not even people developing the metaverse can completely explain.
In essence, although there is no specific definition of the metaverse, it is generally described as a place made of constantly evolving virtual worlds that continue to exist on their own, even when no one is playing in the virtual world.
Think of those augmented reality goggles that look ridiculous. The augmented reality combines digital and physical worlds. The metaverse doesn’t require that those spaces be exclusively accessed via VR or AR.
Another aspect of the metaverse is how it acts as a digital currency.
In some versions of the metaverse, you can take a virtual item like clothes and cars from one platform to another. For example, in the real world you can buy a sweatshirt from a store and wear it to a restaurant.
Or, in the metaverse, as Wired Magazine put it, “Right now, most platforms have virtual identities, avatars, and inventories that are tied to just one platform, but a metaverse might allow you to create a persona that you can take everywhere as easily as you can copy your profile picture from one social network to another.”
Well, that is as clear as mud. But you get the idea. The metaverse is a digital reality, and for Walmart’s purposes, it involves a digital marketplace with its own currency to purchase its own digital goods, also known as NFTs.
So, one day you might be cruising down the aisles of a Walmart store from the comfort of your own home. And anyone that shops at Walmart on a Saturday knows, it is hell! There are too many people and there always seems to be loud, screaming, obnoxious children.
So, for those of us who enjoy Walmart’s low prices, but hate shopping there in-person, Walmart joining the metaverse is good news indeed.