Walmart’s proposed digital coin is unlikely to face as much regulatory pushback as Facebook’s Libra project, according to Jaret Seiberg, a senior policy analyst at Cowen.
As Bloomberg reports, Walmart’s initiative may appeal to Democratic legislators who are keen to find an alternative financial infrastructure for people who do not regularly use banks. The coin doesn’t appear to share the same “global intentions” of Libra, Seiberg noted.
It would also differ little from rechargeable gift cards as consumers would give cash to Walmart in exchange for a similar value of its coin that they could then spend at its stores.
However, the coin could be seen as a threat to small banks and credit unions and could trigger congressional hearings. It would likely generate more criticism than praise “given overall doubts on Capitol Hill about digital coins.” Ultimately, though, Seiberg believes that lawmakers won’t stop Walmart.
Yet crypto fans shouldn’t get too carried away, as a Walmart spokesman said last week that the retailer has no plans to immediately use the patent it applied for.