International Retailers Tales from the Crypt
In good news for drug dealers, arms merchants and money launderers, Amazon has advertised a job vacancy for a Digital Currency Product Lead, suggesting that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which are mined using an energy-intensive and environmentally destructive process and have no inherent value, might soon be accepted as legal tender by the online and grocery giant. In the US, Walmart is extending its reach into healthcare, complementing its bricks and mortar offering in primary care, labs, X-ray and EKG, counselling, dental, optical, hearing, community health and health insurance education and enrolment, as well as traditional pharmacy, with a new drive into telemedicine. You may recall that the Big Feller acquired unpronounceable telehealth provider MeMD back in May. As it stands, Walmart has over 45,000 stores in the US, representing enormous potential to overturn that country’s brutal healthcare system through the provision of affordable medicine and services.
Comment: Retailers are moving far beyond their traditional mandate of providing goods for cash, and both at home and abroad are fast becoming part of a country’s essential infrastructure.