Patent application exposes Wal-Mart digital currency ambitions, or will compete with Libra

According to a new patent application, retail giant Wal-Mart may be studying the release of digital currency backed by French currency, similar to Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published the document on Thursday, which proposed a method of "generating a digital currency unit by linking a digital currency unit to a conventional currency", which is linked to the legal currency. Stabilizing coins.

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The document states that this blockchain-based digital currency “may be linked to the US dollar” and may “use only in selected retailers or partners”.

The document also mentions that the currency may also help low-income households – groups that cannot afford the high cost of doing business, and who can choose to “handle wealth in an institution that meets most of their daily financial and product needs”.

Libra, the cryptocurrency in Facebook's preparations, has similar goals. Libra plans to serve people who don't have a bank account and promote low-cost money transfer transactions around the world.

Libra is expected to go online next year, but it has already faced close attention from central banks and politicians around the world. Facebook recently stated in a risk disclosure document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that Libra may never launch due to a “significant” review by regulators.

Wal-Mart's patent application further indicates that its envisioned digital currency is expected to provide a free or low-cost capital storage platform.

“This digital currency can provide a free or minimally charged place to store wealth, which can be spent at retailers and can be easily converted into cash if needed. Such accounts can even earn interest. ”

Digital currency may be linked to a national currency (such as the US dollar), so access to funds is easy. To some extent, the value of this digital currency can be linked to other digital currencies.”

In addition, the document mentions that digital currency can eliminate credit and debit cards without the need for cash, and can also be used for food payments.

Wal-Mart is one of the most active players in the blockchain sector and has submitted at least 54 blockchain-related patents to date. Recently, Wal-Mart China launched a blockchain platform to track a variety of agricultural products ranging from fresh meat to rice to mushrooms. The retail giant recently participated in a second drug blockchain trial to track supply chains with IBM, KPMG and Merck.