Walmart CTO Suresh Kumar Envisions an Important Role for Crypto in Retail 

Walmart chief technology officer Suresh Kumar expects crypto to be central to the company’s future as customers continue to embrace cryptocurrency payments.
Image source: Walmart

Quick take:

  • Walmart’s CTO expects cryptocurrencies to be central to how customers pay for goods and services.
  • Suresh Kumar told Yahoo Finance the company plans to integrate crypto into its online stores and the metaverse.
  • The global retail giant made its foray into web3 after filing several trademarks related to the NFTs and the metaverse late last year.

Walmart’s chief technology officer (CTO) Suresh Kumar has revealed the retail giant’s ambitious plan to drive future growth. Speaking to Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit, Kumar said he envisions a future where digital assets will be used across its online stores and in the metaverse.

The metaverse is generally described as a 3D virtual space where people can interact with each other through immersive gaming, virtual concerts and other experiential events like buying and selling virtual goods.

Walmart has been one of the leading early adopters of web3 in the retail space. Last year, news emerged that the company was already allowing customers to buy bitcoin in some of its retail stores. 

And even though the retailer denied previous reports that it was accepting crypto payments later that year, in December, went on to file several trademarks related to crypto, nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse.

All these are preparations for what the consumer goods giant thinks is an inevitable future. 

“Crypto will become an important part of how customers transact,” Kumar said. “We want to make sure that we make it as friction-free for customers …so that they are able to drive value out of it.”

An NFT is a digital representation of an artwork, a collectible, physical merchandise, or a JPEG stored on the blockchain. Retail companies that jumped on the web3 bandwagon early have already launched phygitals (physical products linked to digital versions of themselves that are stored on the blockchain).

Some are only interested in dropping regular collectibles to improve engagement with their customers whilst also creating an alternative revenue stream.

But if Kumar’s words are to be taken literally, Walmart seems to be more interested in the crypto-driven economy side of things.

Since joining the US retailer in 2019, Kumar has recruited more than 20,000 staff globally, including 5,000 tech workers.

His vision for Walmart in web3 includes using experiential virtual spaces to enable product discovery for customers amid a rapidly evolving business environment.

The CTO sees some exciting use cases in the metaverse and inside live video streams on social media apps.

“I think a lot of the disruption is going to start happening in terms of different payment methods, and different payment options,” he said.

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