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Monday, Sep 27, 2021

Fake Walmart press release says it will accept litecoin, sending the crypto higher

Reports on a press release this morning that appeared to say Walmart would begin accepting litecoin as payment for goods and services. Turns out the press release was fake.

Cryptocurrency litecoin gave up a 20% gain and tumbled back to earth following a fake press release sent out by GlobeNewswire that referenced a partnership with Walmart.

Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove confirmed the press release is not authentic. He also said the retailer has been in touch with the newswire company to investigate how the false press release got posted.

GlobeNewswire is owned by telecommunications company Intrado. It issued a “notice to disregard” the original release at 11:18 a.m. EST.

A number of media organizations, including CNBC, sent headlines on the announcement. Shares of Walmart had little movement on it. Litecoin was last about 2.2% down, according to Coin Metrics.

GlobeNewswire said that a fraudulent user account was used to issue the release.

“This has never happened before and we have already put in place enhanced authentication steps to prevent this isolated incident from occurring in the future,” said a spokesperson. “We will work with the appropriate authorities to request – and facilitate – a full investigation, including into any criminal activity associated with this matter.”

Litecoin tweeted the press release from its official account at 9:50 a.m. ET. In response to the various media outlets that covered it, one of Litecoin’s social media team members “was a little too eager and shared the story from the Litecoin Twitter account,” the Litecoin Foundation said in a statement Monday afternoon. “This was quickly deleted and we have taken steps to correct future issues.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission said it does not comment on such matters.

The news release said that Walmart, the biggest retailer in the U.S., would accept cryptocurrency for payments from shoppers using litecoin. It referenced a nonworking website in the email of one of the contacts listed, raising suspicions.

The release was never listed on Walmart’s official corporate website and has been removed from the GlobeNewswire website.
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