Walmart Board Director: Crypto’s Potential Goes Beyond Financial Services

  • Tom Horton is a board member of Walmart and and is a partner in investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners and General Electric
  • “I see blockchain technologies as another big enabler, just like the internet was in its early days,” Horton said.

Crypto financial services firm is no stranger to blockchain technology and its growing demand, but one of its newest board members, Tom Horton, who is also Walmart’s lead independent director , told Blockworks he only sees this as a start.

“Major institutions and traditional banks are also getting into crypto,” Horton said. “But it is clear that it is a powerful and constructive technology with huge potential for growth over the next few years and beyond.”

As the regulatory landscape around the industry continues to evolve, so do new use cases, from NFTs to games and sports to supply chain, Horton said. “Consumer interest is strong and this is helping to drive new vectors for innovation and adoption,” he said.

The energy within this space will create ripple effects across all sectors, beyond the obvious ones in banking, fintech and e-commerce, he said.

The more I learn, the more I see blockchain technologies as another big enabler, just like the internet was in its early days,” Horton said. “The enthusiasm and pace of innovation in this new ecosystem is amazing, which at its core I feel is about freedom and removing friction.”

While this is his first blockchain venture, it’s not his first involvement with a fast-growing company, he said.

In addition to his role at Walmart and, he is a partner at investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners and General Electric. He was previously chief executive of technology company Qualcomm and chairman and CEO of American Airlines.

“All of this is relevant to the work I do with other councils and to investing in infrastructure,” Horton said. “It is important to understand how [this technology] work and its impact on world trade.

“I’m fascinated by blockchain technology and its growing array of use cases,” Horton said. “A gigantic shift is underway in digital currencies and financial services, and the applications extend beyond the financial sphere.”

Walmart filed patent applications for virtual goods including electronics, home decor, toys, sporting goods and personal care products, late December 2021, CNBC reported. The retail giant has also filed patents on a digital currency as well as NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

A Walmart spokesperson declined to comment further on the patent filings or cryptography when contacted by Blockworks on Wednesday.

Horton did not specify the filings or whether the retail giant plans to integrate blockchain or crypto-related products or services into its 10,500 stores this year. However, he said, “every large business, retail and otherwise, needs to be mindful of this emerging ecosystem and the opportunities it presents to better serve customers.”

Overall, Horton said he was a “big believer” in the power of free, fair and global trade to raise living standards globally.

“There’s a huge change afoot and I’m excited to be a part of it with the best people in space,” he shared.

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  • Jacquelyn Melinek

    Jacquelyn Melinek is a New York-based journalist covering finance, decentralized finance (DeFi), and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). She previously reported on energy markets for S&P Global Platts and Bloomberg News and is published in over 65 news outlets. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in media and journalism. Contact Jacquelyn by email at [email protected]

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