Stock Analysis & Ideas

Walmart Stock (NYSE:WMT): An Unexpected Crypto and Metaverse Play

Story Highlights

Over-cautious critics might insist that Walmart’s executives “stay in their lane” when it comes to cryptocurrency and the metaverse. Yet, the intersection of the retail giant and digital assets is not only inevitable, but mutually beneficial.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) is an old-fashioned store where cash and credit are king – right? Not necessarily, as the times are changing, and an investment in Walmart could actually benefit from the rise of cryptocurrency and even the metaverse. Therefore, I am bullish on Walmart stock.

We all know Walmart as a vast, well-capitalized chain of retail stores. There’s a common conception that Walmart stock is what your parents and grandparents might have invested in, but it’s mostly a legacy business that probably won’t change much in the coming years.

You don’t have to fall victim to assumptions and misconceptions, however. Just because Walmart is huge doesn’t mean it’s not agile in adapting to new technologies. Believe it or not, the company has already dipped its toes into the future-facing world of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) – and one Walmart executive just teased a tie-in with decidedly modern digital assets.

Walmart Could Have Its Metaverse Moment Soon

Admittedly, the metaverse is largely the domain of young and open-minded artists, collectors, and investors. Still, the digital artifacts known as NFTs can capture the attention and imagination of just about anyone. Hopefully, Walmart will demonstrate its willingness to jump into the deep end and offer metaverse-embedded products in the near future.

Perhaps it’s just a waiting game at this point. Nearly a full year ago – before inflation got out of hand, I might add – Walmart reportedly filed several trademarks indicating an intent to produce and sell virtual goods. Not only that, but Walmart apparently also stated that it would offer a virtual currency and NFTs.

There wasn’t a whole lot of detail in the report, but speculation commenced almost immediately. Trademark attorney Josh Gerben, for example, concluded that “there’s a lot of planning going on behind the scenes about how they’re going to address cryptocurrency, how they’re going to address the metaverse and the virtual world that appears to be coming or that’s already here.”

Maybe, or maybe not. All these months later, there hasn’t been a significant update on Walmart’s foray into NFT trademarks or the products they might involve. That’s really a shame, as Walmart could benefit from fresh, new product types with a digital angle. Besides, if the metaverse blossoms into a much more lucrative, enduring product domain, Walmart’s executives certainly won’t want their company to be late to the profit party.

Granted, Walmart did assert that it’s “testing new ideas all the time” and “continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences.” This seems to suggest that the retailer could spring NFT-enhanced products on its shoppers at any given moment. Hopefully, Walmart will lead the way instead of lagging behind in introducing the public to the metaverse and vice versa.

A Walmart Executive Made a Bullish Statement about Crypto

While there hasn’t been a material update on Walmart’s potential venture into NFTs, one executive did at least make a statement about the retailer’s involvement with cryptocurrency. Indeed, what Walmart Global Chief Technology Officer Suresh Kumar recently said about crypto might surprise and delight some digital-asset aficionados.

Speaking at a conference, Kumar unapologetically proclaimed that, going forward, cryptocurrency transactions will be right “in the middle” of Walmart’s digital strategy. Now, that’s a bold statement coming from an executive at a corporation of this size.

It gets even better, though. Kumar added, “Crypto will become an important part of how customers transact,” presumably referring to Walmart. Moreover, Kumar declared that Walmart wants “to make sure that we make it as friction-free for customers… so that they are able to drive value out of it.”

This type of statement from a Walmart executive would have been unimaginable 10 or even five years ago. Yet, here we are, and a major representative at Walmart almost sounds ready to put a Bitcoin (BTC-USD) ATM in every Walmart store.

Okay, so maybe I’m going too far. Still, Kumar did opine that “a lot of the disruption is going to start happening in terms of different payment methods and different payment options.” Is he suggesting that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies might soon be accepted as payment in Walmart stores? If so, this should be a win-win for holders of both Bitcoin and Walmart stock in the long run.

What is the Target Price for WMT Stock?

Turning to Wall Street, WMT has a Strong Buy consensus rating based on 23 Buys and five Holds assigned in the past three months. The average Walmart price target is $152.22, implying 9.19% upside potential.

Conclusion: Should You Consider Walmart Stock?

Walmart’s executives haven’t made any definitive statements about the company offering NFTs to customers. Also, Kumar didn’t set a specific timeline in which Walmart would start accepting any particular cryptocurrency as payment for products. Still, it’s encouraging to see this old store chain testing the waters with digital assets, or at least considering it. So, as an indirect wager on the build-out of the crypto-verse and possibly even the metaverse, feel free to consider a long position in Walmart stock.

Disclosure

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