Walmart explores its own digital currency
Written by Peter Walker
A patent application has revealed that Walmart is exploring its own US dollar-backed digital currency, along the same lines of Facebook’s Libra project.
A document 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”.
Such a ‘stablecoin’ is aimed at those with limited access to banking services, already put forward as one of Libra’s big selling points.
Walmart stated: “Using a digital currency, low-income households that find banking expensive, may have an alternative way to handle wealth at an institution that can supply the majority of their day-to-day financial and product needs.”
Customers’ purchasing histories could be stored on the blockchain, with related savings applied to subsequent purchases in a similar way to existing loyalty programmes. It would also mean removing the need for credit cards, instead acting as a pre-approved biometric - fingerprint or eye pattern – credit, with the person effectively becoming “their own digital value bank”.
Walmart is already using blockchain for tracking the likes of groceries and prescription medicines. It has also filed other patents for things like a blockchain-based marketplace for reselling purchased products and “in-field authenticating autonomous robots”.