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Walmart takes on eBay in digital collectibles space

digital collectibles
Walmart and NECA are launching a digital collectibles platform.

Walmart is partnering with a collectibles manufacturer to challenge eBay with a gamified, blockchain-based omnichannel offering.

Walmart is launching a new digital collectible platform, known as AutoT, in collaboration with NECA (National Entertainment Collectibles Association). Launching exclusively on and in Walmart stores in October 2022, AutoT will feature limited-edition figures and collectibles from NECA.

Each series in the AutoT line works like a “mystery box” based on a specific pop culture property. Once a customer purchases an AutoT box, they enter the digital code found on their Walmart receipt into their personal account at to reveal which collectible item they’ve received. Items include rare “chase variants” signed by pop culture stars and creators.

The AutoT website uses proprietary, patent-pending blockchain technology to track the authenticity and ownership history of AutoT collectibles. Customers can store their digital collectible item for up to two years free of charge in the NECA vault, or have the physical item shipped to them.

AutoT launches with new to market figures from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, featuring Shredder, Renet and one surprise figure to be revealed later. Customers will also have a chance to receive rare chase variants signed by co-creator Kevin Eastman.

Also debuting are exclusive Bob Ross collectible lithographs from Bob Ross Inc., with more properties and collectibles to be announced in the coming weeks. The first AutoT sale starts Oct. 6 online at and in stores nationwide on Oct. 15, with new products dropping at regular intervals.

Walmart is introducing this new blockchain-based omnichannel shopping experience on the heels of opening its first interactive metaverse experiences on the Roblox gaming platform. While this program is not technically an NFT offering, it does operate similarly to NFTs in using a blockchain-based digital asset to authenticate a product’s value and ownership.

[Read more: Retailers discover ‘real world’ uses for NFTs]

eBay zeroes in on collectibles
Collectibles, digital and otherwise, represent an increasingly important product category for eBay, which is an existing rival to the Walmart Marketplace third-party sales platform. The company recently launched a series of exclusive Funko products as part of a collaboration with the pop culture brand.

eBay also released a new authenticity guarantee service for trading cards in January 2022, which it has since built upon through a new strategic partnership with PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator), a trading card authentication and grading company.

In addition, eBay recently opened the eBay vault, a 31,000-sq.-ft., 24/7 secured, temperature-controlled facility and digital marketplace for collectors. Single, graded trading cards worth $750 or more may be eligible for eBay vault access. Once an item is in the eBay vault, ownership transfers from seller to buyer in a matter of seconds, without the need to re-authenticate or ship the item anywhere.

“At Walmart, we are always finding new ways to bring innovation and one-of-a-kind offerings to our customers,” said Laura Rush, senior VP, electronics, toys & seasonal – Walmart U.S. “NECA’s unique collectibles and inventive AutoT platform offer a new type of shopping experience to shoppers, ensuring that Walmart is bringing the best in tech and entertainment to customers nationwide.”

“NECA is the world leader in pop culture figures and collectibles,” said Joel Weinshanker, managing partner of NECA. “Partnering with Walmart, we are excited to bring exclusive NECA merchandise featuring today’s hottest IPs into the digital world.”

Based in Bentonville, Ark., Walmart Inc. operates more than 10,500 stores and multiple e-commerce websites under 46 banners in 24 countries. 

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