Walmart goes back to the blockchain with new stablecoin patent

JP Morgan has an internal stablecoin, Facebook has the Libra, a proposed global stablecoin, and now Walmart has applied to patent the use of a digital coin, backed by fiat currency and linked to customer spending history.

The filing was published earlier this month by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The filing is for a blockchain based digital payment system that has some similarities to the Libra project. According to the patent, Walmart proposes to create a coin that runs on a digital ledger, or blockchain. The coin will be linked to fiat currency and government bonds to ensure a stable value. The blockchain will have a layer that records the transaction history and account information of Walmart’s retail customers.

There are several reasons that Walmart may wish to explore a blockchain-based token. It would give the company a means to provide its customers with faster, cheaper payments, and it could reward them with loyalty points that could be paid in the company’s native currency. It would effectively create an internal Walmart economy.

However, the filing appears to be intended for a future project, that may yet be years away. Given the political backlash from global regulators towards Facebook’s proposed Libra stablecoin, there may be little appetite for Walmart to proceed until the regulatory framework is clearer.

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