In a notable contrast to the growing crypto skepticism during digital the present bear market, financial services giants Visa, PayPal and Western Union were among the prominent companies which filed new trademark applications including crypto and Web3 services in the last few weeks.
According to Visa’s filings, the company is considering a “crypto wallet”, explaining it as “software for users to view, access, store, monitor, manage, trade, send, receive, transfer, and exchange digital currency, virtual currency, cryptocurrency, digital and blockchain assets, and NFTs.
Besides, Visa may set up shop in the metaverse, as it intends to “provide virtual environments in which users can interact for recreational, entertainment purposes accessible in the virtual world.”
PayPal still working on its own wallet
PayPal’s trademark application mentions “crypto” 18 times, starting with “downloadable software for sending, receiving, accepting, purchasing, selling, storing, transferring, trading and exchanging digital currency, virtual currency, cryptocurrency, Stablecoins, digital and blockchain assets, digitized assets, digital tokens, crypto tokens and utility tokens.”
PayPal currently allows its users to purchase Bitcoin,ETH, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC), and send it to other wallets, but it is obviously still in the process of building its own wallet.
Western Union going bigger on digital currency
Western Union filing seems to cover all aspects of digital payments, involving “the management and custody of digital currency and electronic wallets.” Like others, WU plans “downloadable software for generating cryptographic keys for getting and spending cryptocurrencies”.
Despite the prolonged crypto winter, crypto trademark filings have been flowing steadily for some time, as mentioned by trademark attorney Mike Kondoudis on Twitter, involving by Viking Cruises, and cosmetics retailer Ulta in the previous week.
Of course, trademark filings are usually defensive legal actions, and do not guarantee which the covered products and services will, in fact, be developed and sold. But they indicate that a company recognizes a potential future market and aims to be prepared to enter it.
In October alone, Web3 and NFT filings have emerged from brands as diverse as musical instrument maker Fender, food giants Del Monte and Kraft (given its iconic Wienermobile), hamburger chain Inn-N-Out, snack maker Takis, wine and spirits company Moët Hennessy, Formula One racing company, online betting platform DraftKings, and singer Lizzo.
NFTs and digital goods and collectibles seem to be the hottest category among potential areas of interest for American businesses. So far this year, over 6,300 U.S. trademark applications have been filed for NFTs and related items, compared to just 2,100 applications in all of 2021, Kondoudis reported.
For the broader digital currency and cryptocurrency space, 2022 saw more than 4,300 US trademark applications, compared to 3,500 in 2021