American Express is making what appears to be a landgrab for what some see as the next big market for payments – the metaverse.
The company has filed trademark applications for its logos and items including the Centurion black card and “Shop Small” program.
Amex is also seeking to engage in virtual payments and electronic business transactions for digital media and non-fungible tokens (NFT).
Conducting commerce in the metaverse raises an important question – could the metaverse be the place where an entirely new set of payment methods and payment rails might be built from scratch?
Is there a better set of payment rails that are designed for the metaverse rather than using a set of payment rails that we have in the real world?
Another essential question that to explore is what will retailers and banks need to do to remain relevant in the metaverse?
Payments Industry Take Interest in Metaverse
Amex’s applications come as traditional finance and large corporations increasingly aim to boost their metaverse exposure. JPMorgan recently opened a lounge in Decentraland and released a paper exploring how businesses can find opportunities in the growing metaverse.
On August 18, digital payments giant Visa spent $150,000 to buy a unique work of art, and in so doing quietly took its first step into the metaverse.
Mastercard is also betting on the metaverse, launching the Start Path Crypto scheme, a startup engagement programme dedicated to exploring and solving problems for single users and businesses around the world using blockchain technology.
IMA Financial Group, a large US insurance broker and wealth management firm, opened a research and development facility in the Ethereum-based metaverse as well.
It may only be a matter of time before one may be purchasing consumer goods and services using mainstream credit cards in the metaverse, with large payment firms increasingly seeking to ride on fiat-to-crypto rails.
“American Express is always monitoring emerging technologies to see how they could benefit our customers, and the metaverse is a space we’re following,” an Amex spokesman said.
“We have no plans to share at this time but are watching as this space evolves.”
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