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With Walmart NFTs, the Megastore Goes Metaverse
Judging from recent trademark filings, Walmart appears to be plotting its entry into the metaverse.
The big-box retailer filed several trademarks for Walmart Connect, a venture that might see the company launch its own NFTs and cryptocurrency, a move that could fuel — or diminish — the voracious appetite for digital collectibles.
Walmart also filed to protect the use of its name and logo in virtual and augmented reality, bolstering the company’s application for the names “Verse to Curb,” “Verse to Home,” and “Verse to Store,” terms that suggest some sort of Walmart-powered VR shopping experience.
Earlier this month, a five-year-old video imagining Walmart in VR went viral on Twitter. Commissioned by Walmart and created by a digital agency, the clip served as a reminder of the metaverse’s humble roots, which precede crypto traders, NFT collectors, and Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta.
Walmart’s seeming entry into the hype-driven landscape of NFTs and cryptocurrency is both expected and unexpected.
From Melania Trump to Taco Bell, everyone is scrambling for a slice of the virtual pie. If Shawn Mendes can sell his vest as an NFT, it follows that an entity as powerful as Walmart would weigh in on the action.
However, Walmart’s move also raises the question of what, exactly, customers buy into when they purchase NFTs.
It’s no secret that exclusivity — and the bragging rights that accompany them — is part of what makes NFTs so appealing. Anyone can take a screenshot of Beeple’s The First 5000 Days, but only one person owns the $69 million real deal.
It’s difficult to imagine Walmart, a company that built its reputation on affordability, peddling multi-million-dollar collectibles that will accrue value over time.
The tension between the blockchain’s accessibility (technically, anyone can make and sell an NFT) and inherent exclusivity (not only is buying cryptocurrency not a cheap or simple task for many but their value is dependent on limited availability) raises a couple of questions.
How will Walmart market its NFTs as desirable?
And, perhaps more importantly, if Walmart’s entry into the metaverse — where the hype is largely fueled by the rich and famous — doesn’t pop the NFT bubble, will anything?
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It Took This Long to Drop BAPE x ‘Squid Game’!?
Release Date: January 21
Price: ￥8,800-￥9,900 (about $77-$86)
Editor’s Notes: Remember Squid Game? Maybe a better question is: have you been able to forget Squid Game?
From Hoyeon Jung’s Calvin Klein takeover to the inevitable confirmation of season 2, the uber-popular Netflix shows has STILL been inescapable, even four months after it began trending in September (has it really been that long already?).
And, yet, BAPE’s here to prolong Squid Game‘s presence at the front of your mind.
In partnership with Netflix, BAPE is issuing a trio of thematic T-shirts that draw from some strong Squid Game iconography.
Two tees take on the prisoner number of protagonist Seung Ji-Hoon, combining the 456 printed on his jumpsuit with BAPE’s signature camouflage and APE HEAD motifs afflicted by bits of Hangul borrowed from the South Korean show’s branding.
The other puts brand mascot Baby Milo amidst a squad of Squid Game‘s menacing masked staff. Get outta there, Milo!
We’ve talked before about how Netflix dropped the ball with its first attempts at Squid Game merch — in general, Netflix’s in-house and collaborative apparel is pretty weak, though there are some occasional bright spots.
The BAPE stuff is at least as good as Emotionally Unavailable’s collaboration, which yielded the first collection of officially-branded Squid Game stuff.
Does it have legs beyond either property’s fans? Probably not but that’s presumably why BAPE is launching it as a pre-order rather than a normal drop.
It’s more interesting that it took this long to get a BAPE collab out of Squid Game but maybe there was some hold-up with licensing.
Actually, it’s just as likely that BAPE’s simply been too busy to focus on any one drop: the past few weeks have seen the streetwear label team with (*deep breath*) Tommy Jeans, Reebok, Union, Mitchell & Ness, Minecraft, and — while I was writing this — Stüssy.
Omaha Businessman Seeks Nearly $35 Million for Seaside Malibu Retreat
Point Dume, Malibu, Calif.
6,107 sqiuare feet, 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms
Last year, Buchanan Energy founder Steve Buchanan sold his Nebraska-based chain of Bucky’s convenience stores to competitor Casey’s General Stores in a $580 million cash deal. Now the Omaha businessman has chosen to offload his blufftop Point Dume estate, hoisting the swank Malibu pad onto the market with a $35 million ask — a whopping $14 million more than he paid “Scrubs” creator Bill Lawrence for the place only five years ago.
Previously owned by rock icon Pat Benatar, Lawrence and his actress wife Christa Miller had picked up the midcentury modern-style house way back in 2003 for $4.5 million and subsequently converted it into a lavish trophy property. Originally built in 1953, it includes six bedrooms and an equal number of baths spread across just over 6,100 square feet of living space rife with rich hardwood floors, wood-beam ceilings and skylights.
Sited on the bluff portion of pricey Cliffside Drive — long considered one of the most desirable streets in the neighborhood — the home is secluded behind gates and high hedges, and fronted by a two-car garage. Ritzy amenities include dual owner’s suites, a media room, an infinity pool and gated stairway access to Little Dume Beach. Walls of glass overlook sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, Catalina Island and Queen’s Necklace.
A large pivoting front door opens into an open-concept great room centered around a living room boasting a stone and metal fireplace wall and an adjacent dining area. The space connects to a gourmet kitchen outfitted with an eat-in island, high-end stainless appliances, a butler’s pantry and windowed breakfast nook adorned with a built-in banquette. There’s also the aforementioned media room, which comes complete with beverage and wine coolers, built-in shelves and doors leading to a front patio.
In addition to a main-level master suite that has glass doors spilling out to a patio area, a second master bedroom upstairs features a built-in desk, private balcony and luxe bath; outdoors, the terraced backyard is highlighted by a large pool surrounded by a spacious wood sundeck, a barbecue area and fire-pit lounge, plus several grassy areas for lounging alongside the picturesque vistas.
Buchanan’s primary residence apparently remains Omaha, where he owns a lavish Tudor-style mansion built in 1991. Chris Cortazzo of Compass is the listing agent for the Malibu property.
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