With Metaverse Patents and Consulting, Mastercard, Amex and Visa Foresee a Virtual Marketplace


With a series of patent and trademark filings, Mastercard has revealed plans to move into metaverse commerce.

In a batch of 15 filings, the payments processing giant focused on both the nuts and bolts of making and verifying payments, and on marketing its services.

In this it follows hot on the heels of American Express, which in a series of patent office filings on March 15 revealed its own ambitions in the immersive virtual reality worlds that are being described as the next step in social media, virtual events and internet commerce.

While Visa has not been reported to have made a similar filing with the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office (USTPO), it has jumped into the space aggressively as well, with its consulting and analytics division advising financial institutions on metaverse strategy.

See also: What’s a Metaverse, and Why is One Having a Fashion Show?

And, its cryptocurrency arm is moving aggressively into the non-fungible token (NFT) space, most recently unveiling the Visa Creator Program intended to help bring artists, musicians, filmmakers and other creatives into NFTs — the unique, media-carrying cryptocurrency tokens that are the building blocks of blockchain-based metaverses.

Showing Its Colors

Mastercard’s USTPO filings call for using its name, red and yellow circles logo, and priceless slogan in a variety of ways in metaverse settings. These include in virtual environments for recreation, education, networking, shopping, leisure and entertainment, as well as creating metaverse communities and building NFT artwork, avatars and virtual goods.

Trademark attorney Michael Kondoudis said in a tweet that the filings referenced “E-commerce software to allow users to perform electronic business transactions in the metaverse and other virtual worlds,” as well as “processing virtual debit card, virtual credit card, virtual prepaid card and virtual payment card transactions in the metaverse.”

This roughly fits with the potential Mastercard has said it sees in the metaverse.

In a September look at eCommerce there, Mastercard said it expects “to see new forms of e-commerce emerge. Brands will offer their customers hyper-personalized experiences without worrying about the physical world’s many barriers. Individuals can choose how they want to experience the world, the games they wish to attend, the stores they want to shop in, anywhere and anytime.”

Still, that doesn’t mean Mastercard is necessarily planning to provide these services, as much as it is protecting its intellectual property in the event it decides to do so in the future.

That was Amex’s comment about its March 15 USPTO filings, saying that it was “watching as this space evolves.”

Read more: Trademarks Suggest Amex is Headed to Metaverse

Many other brands, from Nike to McDonalds to Gucci, have been peddling NFTs to attract young metaverse users to their brands, while others like HSBC and Warner Music Group are setting up branded venues.

While metaverse commerce in the form of brands selling actual products is largely experimental or theoretical, companies are scrambling to catch the hype wave for Web3 — the blockchain-based next-generation internet that will supposedly be owned by users rather than tech giants.

Related reading: PYMNTS Metaverse Series: The Brands Are There. Will Eyeballs Follow?

Broadly speaking, in “The Metaverse As a Strategic Inflection Point,” Visa Consulting advised financial institutions to view the metaverse as an opportunity to build financial products and services targeting millennial and Gen Z consumers — ranging from buy now, pay later to building alternate credit scoring models — as a source of marketing and data mining.

“Organizations in all sectors should plan now on how to best capitalize on the opportunities this new digital revolution will bring, just as online marketplaces two decades ago revolutionized the way consumers shopped,” it said. “One thing is clear: The metaverse will change the rules of the game as we move from an internet of information to an internet of value.”