Walmart CTO Says Cryptocurrency Will Be Major Payments Disruptor
Suresh Kumar said cryptocurrencies will become an important payment tool across meta-borders and social media, as these areas will become the primary way customers discover new products.
Suresh Kumar, Walmart's global chief technology officer, sees cryptocurrency as a "major" area of disruption, especially in how customers will pay for virtual and physical goods in the future.
Speaking at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit on Oct. 17, Kumar outlined Walmart's aggressive stance on digital assets, noting that "cryptocurrencies will be an important part of how customers trade physical and virtual goods.
"I think there are three major areas of disruption. Cryptocurrency is in one of them," he said, explaining that "the way customers get inspired and discover products" is changing.
Kumar also suggested that marketing to large numbers of customers will be done through live streaming on the Metaverse and social media apps, and that cryptocurrency could be an important payment option in these areas.
"When you talk specifically about cryptocurrency, it's going to be about product discovery, whether it's internal physical or virtual, metaverse or upfront, and then how people trade."
That may explain Walmart's recent foray into the Roblox Metaverse, with the launch of Walmart Land in late September. The company offers a range of virtual experiences there, such as games, a DJ booth and a Ferris wheel, as well as a virtual merchandise offering called "verch" for users' avatars.
At this stage, irreplaceable tokens (NFTs) and encryption have not yet been integrated with the Roblox metaverse. However, Walmart previously indicated in a January patent application that it may consider creating digital currencies, tokens and NFTs in the Metaverse space at some point in the future.
"We want to make sure we allow our customers to transact and buy frictionlessly and how they get value out of it. That's - I think a lot of the disruption is going to start happening in terms of different payment methods, different payment options," he said.
There are rumors that the multinational retail giant has been working to roll out crypto payments support, but so far only false alerts have emerged, such as a bogus transaction with Litecoin (LTC $52.11) that was announced via a dubious press release last September.
For now, there are about 200 Bitcoin ($19,641) ATMs installed in Walmart stores across the U.S. in October 2021, with plans to expand that number to 8,000 at some point in the future.