A fake press release announced Walmart would accept payments in Litecoin. The cryptocurrency’s value jumped by 30% in 15 minutes before going back to normal. Another example of the volatility of digital wallets while Walmart’s stock value barely changed.
On September 13, a fake press release was published on GlobeNewswire, a press release distribution service used by corporations to send out official news or statement.
The fake press release was titled “Walmart Announces Major Partnership With Litecoin (LTC)“. GlobeNewswire removed it and advised to disregard the news. It falsely claimed that Walmart would accept payments with Litecoin.
The giant American retailer with 2.3 million employees later stated that they had no knowledge of the press release and has no relationship with Litecoin.
In the meantime, Litecoin’s value jumped by 30%, from US $175 to $233 in only 15 minutes. An hour later, it went back to $177, closer to Litecoin’s recent valuation. The price still remained lower than in most of April and May 2021, when it reached its highest value at $383 on May 10.
With a market capitalization of $404 billion, while Litecoin is at $12 billion, Walmart’s stock price barely moved. It opened on Monday at +0.7% compared to Friday and went back to the same price an hour later.
Litecoin is a cryptocurrency launched in 2011 with the same codebase as Bitcoin but with a larger supply and faster creation of money.
Litecoin social media team shared the fake news
The news was relayed by several news outlets, including Reuters, and was also shared on Litecoin’s Twitter account by a “little too eager” media team member.
Litecoin later stated the news was fake and that Litecoin Foundation had “no information as to where this idea or the release to the press originated”.
According to CNBC, which had also sent headlines on the announcement before correcting it, and The Verge, GlobeNewswire said that a fraudulent user account was used to issue the release, which had never happened before.
Walmart usually uses Businesswire to send out press releases and didn’t communicate about a partnership with Litecoin on its corporate website.
The fake release was linked to a non-functioning website and didn’t include a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, a financial statement which would be expected from a public company like Walmart.
- NOTICE TO DISREGARD — Walmart Inc., Globenewswire, September 2021, Free access
- Walmart Statement in Response to Fake Litecoin Press Release, Walmart, September 2021, Free access
- Litecoin Foundation, Twitter, September 2021, Free access
- Walmart says crypto payments announcement is fake. Litecoin tumbles after spike, CNBC, September 2021, Free access
- Litecoin price jumped 20 percent after hoax linked the cryptocurrency to Walmart, The Verge, September 2021, Free access