The battle for stablecoins are ramping up as retailers, social media, and banks are looking into launching their own cryptocurrency in a battle royale for crypto, and perhaps, market dominance. Perhaps in direct competition to Facebook’s Libra project, retail giant, Walmart has applied for a cryptocurrency patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Walmart explained the concept of their digital currency as one “tied to a regular currency”, commonly known as a stablecoin. We know that social media giant Facebook’s cryptocurrency, Libra, will be a token pegged to a basket of fiat currencies and government bonds associated with their conglomerate of supporters and investors, which is a striking difference between the two, but over and above that, the patent filing suggests that the proposed coin could help provide finance for those with limited access to banking services, which is what stablecoins strive to do. The main difference is what stable commodity or item are they being pegged to?
In Walmart’s case, they have previously stated that by 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.
In comparison, Libra is expected to create a system whereby its social media platforms could use it for payments, allowing advertisers to earn Libra and pay Facebook in the token for ads, as Walmart indicates that its coin could have features that apply to their token being used within the ecosystem within their retail company and strategic partnerships.
Walmart’s stablecoin may be pegged to the USD and available for use only at selected retailers or partners. The digital currency can provide a low-fee place to store wealth that can be spent at retailers’ or converted to cash. “Walmart Coin” could “even earn interest” while in the case of Libra, interest earned on the scheme’s potentially vast reserve funds that would go to Libra partners that back the company to the tune of around $10 Million.
Walmart’s token could store the user’s purchasing history on the blockchain and then apply related savings to their subsequent purchases in a similar way to loyalty points. Other novel features they included in their broad patent filing include the ability to remove the need for credit cards, and acting as a “pre-approved biometric credit.”
“A person is the ‘credit card’ to their own digital value bank,” the firm says.
The token could also be used to restrict what product categories can be bought and by whom; for example, blocking minors from purchasing cigarettes, alcohol, or an R-rated movies or M-rated games. Walmart is already using blockchain for tracking products like fresh greens and pharmaceuticals. It’s also has been investigating various use cases of the technology with projects including connecting automated delivery drones.
In June 2019, Walmart China launched a live scheme aimed to improve the nation’s poor food safety record.
“Walmart Coin” could learn from the mistakes of the Libra Foundation and create a digital currency that garners the confidence of consumers and financial leaders alike. In either event, perhaps getting your hands on both of these stablecoins seems like sound advice.
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