Walmart's global chief technology officer has given the strongest hint yet that the world's biggest retailer may soon start accepting digital assets as a payment method.
Walmart's global chief technology officer has declared that "crypto will become an important part" of how we shop in the future.
Giving the strongest hint yet that the world's biggest retailer may soon start accepting digital assets, he added:
"The role of 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."
We already know that Walmart is bullish when it comes to the potential of the metaverse.
Trademarks do not guarantee that a company will use them, but a spokesperson at the time said Walmart was "continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences."
Kumar touched on this during his Yahoo! interview, and explained that he believes the metaverse could play a starring role in changing the way we discover products.
"The last part of it is how products get discovered, products get delivered, a lot of disruption going on over there. But when you specifically talk about crypto, it is going to be about discovery of products, whether it is physical or virtual inside either the metaverse or upfront, and then how people transact."
He stressed that great care needs to be taken to ensure that the experience is friction free — and with a number of metaverse platforms currently suffering from poor usability, including Meta, there's little doubt that Walmart will want to tread carefully.
At the start of this year, a video started doing the rounds that appears to show Walmart's vision for the metaverse. It's a rather eerie watch, and shows a shopper in a digital supermarket — assisted by the upper half of a Walmart employee who tells them that they don't need to buy milk because they've already got some at home.
Walmart got plenty of flak at the time — with critics arguing that the virtual world looked both basic and outdated. But here's the thing: It was actually created all the way back in 2017 for a business conference, and was only intended as a demonstration of what the future could look like.
With a whopping $572.8 billion in revenue in the last fiscal year, Walmart will know that it'll have to tread carefully when it comes to the metaverse. Any offerings concerning virtual worlds and cryptocurrencies will need to be easy to use — and offer something that's better than the status quo. It may be a few years yet before the technology actually gets there.
And although crypto firms are currently delivering innovative ways of speeding up payments and slashing transaction costs, a bigger question concerns whether the volatility of major assets like Bitcoin and Ether means they're impractical for buying your weekly shop.