Walmart’s Crypto Coin May Face Less Heat Than Libra, Cowen Says
A customer pushes a shopping cart after at a Walmart Inc. store in Burbank, California, U.S. (Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

Walmart’s Crypto Coin May Face Less Heat Than Libra, Cowen Says

(Bloomberg) -- Walmart Inc.’s cryptocurrency effort should generate less political opposition than Facebook Inc.’s Libra and may especially appeal to Democrats looking for alternatives for people who do not usually use banks, Cowen said.

Walmart’s coin may resemble a stored value card and would be pegged to the U.S. dollar, Jaret Seiberg, a senior policy analyst at Cowen, wrote in a note to clients Monday. The coin doesn’t appear to share the same “global intentions” of Facebook’s Libra, Seiberg said. A launch does not seem imminent after a Walmart spokesman said on Friday that the retailer has no plans to immediately use the patent it applied for.

Seiberg said the coin would differ little from any rechargeable gift card as consumers would give cash to Walmart in exchange for a similar value of Walmart’s coin that they could then spend at the store.

Even so, if Walmart were to proceed with a digital offering, it could be seen as a threat to small banks and credit unions and is unlikely to be given a free pass from Congress, the analyst said. It could trigger congressional hearings and would likely generate more criticism than praise “given overall doubts on Capitol Hill about digital coins.” Ultimately, though, the analyst doesn’t expect lawmakers would stop Walmart.

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