Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, said it was investigating a fake press release announcing a partnership with Litecoin that briefly propelled the price of the altcoin up.
On September 13th at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time, GlobeNewswire issued a press release announcing the formation of a partnership between the world’s largest retailer and moderately used cryptocurrencies.
The announcement states that Walmart will allow its customers to pay with Litecoin. Several well-known news outlets covered this story, including Reuters, CNBC, and Bloomberg News, which drove up the price of the cryptocurrency.
Walmart Refutes Rumours
Within an hour, Walmart denied this statement and erased all profits from the tokens. Litecoin later confirmed that the statement was false. Now everyone involved is considering how to avoid such mistakes.
Shortly after GlobeNewswire published a notice to “disregard” the news release, it said it put in place enhanced authentication steps to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future. “We will work with the appropriate authorities to request – and facilitate – a full investigation, including into any criminal activity associated with this matter,” GlobeNewswire said.
At the same time, Charlie Lee, the head of the Litecoin Foundation and founder of Litecoin, said the fraud is being investigated but little progress has been made. Although the Litecoin Foundation said they had no information on the source of the press release, Lee admitted that they “screwed it up” by republishing the original announcement.
“We try our best to not tweet fake news and this time we really screwed up,” Lee said. “I deny that it has anything to do with us and we’ll try our best to figure out who did it — and we will stop fake news from spreading.” He added that the Litecoin team would be adding stricter controls on its social media accounts “so that something like this doesn’t happen again.”