Retail giant Walmart has filed a patent for a cryptocurrency that shares various similarities with Facebook’s Libra, and could end up rivaling it.
According to an application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Walmart’s cryptocurrency would be “tied to regular currency,” which would make it a stablecoin. Facebook’s Libra is reportedly going to be backed by a basket of fiat currencies and government Treasury bonds.
Moreover, Walmart’s filing notes the cryptocurrency could help provide financial services to those with limited access to them in the traditional system, a claim similar to the one Facebook has been making.
The retail giant’s patent notes that with the cryptocurrency “low-income households that find banking expensive” could have an alternative way to “handle wealth at an institution that can supply the majority of their day-to-day financial and product needs.”
It’s believed Facebook’s Libra will be implemented on the company’s social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp – to allow users to send and receive payments in the cryptocurrency. Advertisers could also end up having to pay the company in the crypto for ads.
Walmart’s patent also suggests the stablecoin will be usable at its stores. It reads:
The digital currency may be pegged to the US dollar and available for use only at selected retailors or partners. In other embodiments, the digital currency is available for use anywhere. The digital currency can provide a fee-free, or fee-minimal place to store wealth that can be spent, for example, at retailers and, if needed, easily converted to cash.
There are, however, some notable differences between the proposed Libra cryptocurrency and a potential “Walmart Coin.” The retail giant’s patent claims users would be able to earn interest with the token, which could supposedly also store its users’ purchasing histories on the blockchain to help them receive savings opportunities.
Other features Walmart’s cryptocurrency could also include the ability to restrict certain users from buying certain products. A potential use case would be to stop minors from buying cigarettes or alcohol with the cryptocurrency.
The retail giant is known for looking into blockchain technology. As CryptoGlobe covered it has last year filed a patent to store payment data on a blockchain, among other blockchain-realted patents. Walmart has also partnered with IBM to launch a blockchain-based food safety solution.