American Express prepares for potential metaverse entry

Payments processor files trademarks covering NFT marketplace and virtual currency exchange

A sticker on glass displays the blue and white American Express logo                                 
AMEX has filed seven new trademark applications that include mentions of NFTs and the metaverse – Photo: Shutterstock

The second-largest payments processor in the world, American Express, has filed seven trademark applications that indicate its intention to join the corporate push towards non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse.

According to submissions to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) dated 9 March, the company has filed trademark applications for its logos, its ‘Shop Small’ programme and its Centurion black card.

The filings appear to have been revealed following a tweet from Mike Kondoudis, an USPTO-licenced trademark attorney.

What do the trademark filings cover?

The wording on most of the applications – such as application 97302767 – includes references to “downloadable computer software for facilitating the transfer of a virtual payment card to an electronic or mobile wallet”.

There is also a mention on most of the filings to “downloadable computer e-commerce software to allow users to perform electronic business transactions in the metaverse and other virtual worlds”. 

The applications also seek to protect American Express’s trademarks in relation to “digital media, namely, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) featuring textual and graphic content”.

Provision for “an online marketplace for buyers and sellers of digital media, namely, non-fungible tokens” is also included in the filings – as is “banking services in the metaverse and other virtual worlds” and also a “virtual currency exchange” and “electronic transfer of virtual currencies”.

Growing interest in the metaverse

Corporate interest in the metaverse – virtual worlds through which people can interact and transact – has grown apace since Facebook decided to rebrand as Meta. 

These range from JPMorgan opening a virtual lounge in the Decentraland metaverse to other trademark filings suggesting Walmart is preparing to launch its own cryptocurrency.

Described by JPMorgan as a $1trn opportunity, the metaverse promises – or threatens in the minds of sceptics – to revolutionise many aspects of everyday life.

PwC, for example, recently stated that the rise of virtual reality and NFTs could provide further revenue for professional sports teams, with fans able to watch games from the perspective of players or from the manager’s bench.

Further reading

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