It has recently emerged that Walmart is seeking a patent for its own cryptocurrency, following in the steps of Facebook’s Libra. According to at least one expert, Walmart’s foray into digital currencies may be more agreeable to regulators.
Senior policy analyst at the Cowen investment bank, Jaret Seiberg, believes that Walmart’s new cryptocurrency idea may get the green-light from regulators before Libra. This is because the coin does not share Libra’s “global intentions,” but it’s still too early to say.
Walmart Could Get Pole Position
Walmart has already applied for a patent but said recently it has no plans to put it into practice in the near future. This is in sharp contrast to Facebook which already has the Libra and its corresponding wallet, Calibra, ready for launch once approved.
Part of the reason regulators would be more likely to approve the retail giant’s cryptocurrency is due to its non-threatening goals. Whereas Libra plans to be used globally, Walmart’s coin is merely a currency for its store chain. Cash can be exchanged for ‘Walmart Coin’ which can be spent at any store location. It would be more comparable to cash with loyalty points, rather than a global digital asset project like Libra.
The only real threat to Walmart’s digital offering is that it could find significant pushback from smaller banks and credit unions. Ultimately, according to Seiberg, he does not expect lawmakers to give Walmart too much of a hard time, however, it may open the floodgates to other retail chains and corporations issuing their own coins. The Libra remains, though, a much greater threat and regulatory hurdle for governments worldwide — an issue that must be resolved this year if the cryptocurrency plans to launch.
As of now, the Libra is still set for release sometime in 2020 if it can bring together enough lobbying muscle to make its case. Walmart’s coin, on the other hand, seems more of a far-fetched dream than a tangible product. Still, we can expect Walmart to pick up its crypto-aspirations if the Libra is somehow approved sooner than expected.
Do you agree that Walmart’s coin will have an easier time being approved than the Libra? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.