NFT haters, sceptics and Berkshire Hathaway fans, look away now. A little marketplace you may have heard of called the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) appears to be considering expansion into non-fungible token trading.

It’s been revealed that the world’s biggest exchange filed for a trademark focused on virtual goods and NFTs last week, according to a recent trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The virtual goods mentioned include NFTs, virtual reality and augmented reality software and online marketplaces. And, according to the application, the US exchange titan would be able to provide “downloadable virtual goods” for NFTs and digital collectibles, as well as “authentication of data in the field on NFTs using blockchain technology”.

There’s also a section that details “cryptocurrency trading services” that would enable the “financial exchange of virtual currency”.

The move is being perceived by some as the NYSE embracing the metaverse. And that’s because NFTs – essentially contracts securing digital-asset ownership – are inexorably tied to the concept of a vast universe of interconnected decentralised digital realms and various blockchain-enabled economies.

In a tweet (below) on February 15, the US trademark attorney Michael Kondoudis revealed that the NYSE had filed an application on February 10 and that the stock exchange is “coming to the metaverse”.

Kondoudis added: “This filing is the latest confirmation that the Metaverse is real and businesses need to plan accordingly. Businesses no longer need to wonder if it is going to happen.  It is just a matter of when … The NYSE is clearing taking a proactive, forward-thinking approach to ensure that it is the leading financial exchange in the Metaverse.”

To be clear, this is just a filing and not confirmation that the NYSE is 100 per cent about to facilitate the trading of pixelated punks, world-weary-looking cartoon apes, jpegs of rocks, penguins, cats and such and such.

But still, the filing isn’t the first hint that the exchange has a clear interest in this area. According to its website, last year the NYSE minted a set of NFTs to commemorate the first trades of “notable listings” Spotify, Snowflake, Unity, DoorDash, Roblox and Cooping.

If the speculation around the NYSE’s trademark application does turn into something tangible and substantial, then it would surely be the biggest metaverse and NFT-related move so far by an institution or corporation. Even bigger than Walmart’s hinted plans, McDonald’s virtual restaurant mootings and multinational investment bank JPMorgan’s recently launched “Onyx Lounge” in Decentraland.

(And yep, that’s a pic of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon on the virtual wall there. He’ll no doubt be thrilled.)