Walmart files patent for own cryptocurrency

02 Aug 2019

Walmart may be developing its own digital currency, according to a new patent filing.

A report by Coin Telegraph suggests the U.S. retail giant is looking into a U.S. dollar-backed cryptocurrency akin to Facebook’s Libra.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent entitled “System and Method for Digital Currency via Blockchain” on Thursday, which outlines a method for: “Generating one digital currency unit by tying the one digital currency unit to a regular currency; storing information of the one digital currency unit into a block of a blockchain; buying or paying the one digital currency unit.”

Walmart adds that the proposed cryptocurrency project would provide a zero or low-fee place for users to store wealth. This could be easily converted to store cash at certain retailers or partners. The filing adds that these accounts may also be interest-bearing.

Furthermore, Walmart’s digital currency could be developed in order for it to be spent anywhere, the filing states, with potential backing from the U.S. dollar to ensure enhanced ease of deposits and withdrawals. 

In addition, it could be tied to other digital currencies, rather than fiat ones.

At the beginning of the filing, Walmart suggests that the launch of its cryptocurrency may be able to provide low-income households with “an alternative way to handle wealth at an institution that can supply the majority of their day-to-day financial and product needs.”

The “blockchain-protected digital currency”, as Walmart refers to the project, may challenge traditional banks further by eradicating the requirement for credit and debit cards: “The digital currency may act as a pre-approved biometric [...] credit. A person is the ‘credit card’ to their own digital value bank.”

The retail giant adds that the possibilities of its own digital currency could grow to become part of a broader, blockchain-powered service ecosystem, envisioning the creation of an “open-platform value exchange for purchases and for crowdsource work.”