A new patent filing suggests that one of America’s largest retailers Wal-Mart, may be developing its own U.s dollar-backed digital currency which will be similar to Facebook’s Libra.
The patent was filed by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on August 1 under Patent filing number 20190236564, “System and Method for Digital Currency via Blockchain,”. The 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.”
The retailer indicated that the proposed digital currency project would provide a zero or low-fee for storing value, which can easily be redeemed and converted to store cash at selected retailers or partners. Such accounts could even bear interest according to the document. According to the publishing, Wal-Mart’s digital currency could alternatively be developed so that it can be spent anywhere and not just in retail stores; with prospective USD backing ensuring greater ease of deposits and withdrawals. The currency could also be pegged on other digital currencies as opposed to fiat currencies.
The retailer made a pitch early in the document that said that the launch of the digital currency could provide low-income households, for whom banking is costly, with an alternative way to handle wealth at an institution that can supply the majority of their day-to-day financial and product needs.”
The Blockchain-protected digital currency, as it has been dubbed by the retailer could further pose a challenge to commercial banks by erasing the need for credit and debit cards;
“The digital currency may act as a pre-approved biometric credit. A person is the ‘credit card’ to their own digital value bank.”
Wal-Mart further envisions that the scope of its digital currency could extend to form part of the wider Blockchain-powered service ecosystem, envisioning the creation of an “open-platform value exchange for purchases and for crowd source work.”
This would allow the retailer’s customers to buy products or services for themselves and for others using the platform. Wal-Mart’s customers will also be able to hire an associate or designated shopper for a given period of time, and also hire a technician for repairs; all through the platform. Though Facebook’s Libra is facing strong opposition, the project has similar ambitions as Wal-Mart’s cryptocurrency which is; to provide low-cost, borderless value transfer and create a digital currency-powered network.
It remains to be seen whether Wal-Mart’s cryptocurrency will face the same backlash as Facebook’s Libra. It is however important to note that Wal-Mart’s Blockchain related projects will focus on using the technology in areas such as Supply chain management, smart appliances, and customer market places. These are largely uncharted waters for the Blockchain which gives the space more room for growth.
Image Courtesy of time.com