Walmart says crypto press release is a fake
Walmart yesterday found itself having to issue a statement calling a press release sent out by Globe Newswire a fake. The false press release claimed that Walmart would begin accept litecoin cryptocurrency payments for online orders.
The news was first leaked through a litecoin Twitter account and then followed by the press release under the headline “Walmart Announces Major Partnership With Litecoin (LTC)”
The fake announcement appeared to be authentic, complete with made-up quotes from Walmart CEO Doug McMillion. It also came on the heels of the retailer posting a “Help Wanted” ad for a cryptocurrency expert, according to CNN.
CNBC reports that several legitimate news organizations, including its own, went live with the story.
Shares of litecoin, the nineteenth most valued cryptocurrency, according to MarketWatch, jumped following the phony announcement but quickly came back down after Walmart refuted it and Globe Newswire recalled the release. Walmart’s stock price did not appear to have been significantly affected by the non-news.
Globe Newswire, owned by Intrado, said the release was issued through a “fraudulent user account” and that it was taking steps to improve its authentication methods going forward.
Litecoin creator Charlie Lee said that his organization, Litecoin Foundation, had nothing to do with the apparent “pump and dump” scheme connected to the false press release.
He told The Wall Street Journal that even litecoin’s social media manager was fooled by the fake news, going so far as to retweet it on the corporate Twitter account. “He thought it was real, too,” he said. “It was wrong to retweet it. We deleted it quickly afterwards. But the damage is done.”
- NOTICE TO DISREGARD — Walmart Inc. – Globe Newswire
- Posing as Walmart, scammers send crypto surging 25% – CNN
- Walmart says crypto payments announcement is fake. Litecoin tumbles after spike – CNBC
- Litecoin hoax highlights crypto market vulnerable to scams: ‘Walmart has no relationship with litecoin,’ says big box retailer – MarketWatch
- Fake Walmart News Release Spurs Spike in Little-Used Cryptocurrency Litecoin – The Wall Street Journal
- Litecoin Foundation ‘Screwed Up,’ Lee Says of Walmart Snafu – Bloomberg
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see fake news and misinformation spread through social media becoming a greater threat to retail businesses? Where do you expect retailers to be when it comes to cryptocurrency over the next five years?