Looks like Walmart is trying to pull a Facebook by applying for a cryptocurrency patent much like Libra. Walmart explains a couple of the benefits of implementing their own coin, which sounds like promising use cases.
A notable difference is that users of a “Walmart Coin” could “even earn interest,” the application suggests. With Libra, interest earned on the scheme’s potentially vast reserve funds would go to Libra partners that back the company to the tune of around $10 million.
More closely applying to a commerce giant, though, Walmart says its token could store user’s purchasing histories on the blockchain, and then apply related savings to their subsequent purchases in a similar way to loyalty points.
Other novel features suggested in the very broad filing include the ability to remove the need for credit cards, and acting as a “pre-approved biometric (e.g., fingerprint or eye pattern) 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 DVD.
Tying purchase histories to the blockchain, and then discounts against that history, sounds like something they can do already, at least for online shoppers or shoppers that use their app. I think the bigger implication is the use of the coin as a replacement for a credit card. Mastercard and Visa don’t want to hear that.