Fake Walmart press release caused litecoin's price to jump 20 percent

Someone falsely claimed the company would start accepting cryptocurrency for payments.

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Kris Holt
September 13, 2021 1:48 PM
Representation of Bitcoin, Ripple, Litecoin and Ethereum cryptocurrencies is seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on June 6, 2021. (Photo Illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Despite a bogus press release claiming otherwise, Walmart isn't accepting litecoin for payments anytime soon. The fake release caused the price of the cryptocurrency to briefly shoot up by 20 percent before it tumbled back down.

The press release went out on newswire distribution network GlobeNewswire, which later pulled the phony announcement and issued a notice to disregard it. A Walmart spokesperson told CNBC the press release was fake and that the company asked GlobeNewswire how it was distributed in the first place.

Walmart didn't post the announcement on its own website and the press release listed an email address with a website that doesn't work. Engadget has contacted Walmart for comment.

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"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," a GlobeNewswire spokesperson told Engadget. "We will work with the appropriate authorities to request — and facilitate — a full investigation, including into any criminal activity associated with this matter."

If the person who sent the fake press release had a cryptocurrency wallet bulging with litecoin, they may have made an absolute killing. There's no doubt it was a creative way to inflate the price of a cryptocurrency, but perhaps it wasn't the smartest idea. It could draw an investigation from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Update 9/14 10:10AM ET: Added GlobeNewswire's statement.

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Fake Walmart press release caused litecoin's price to jump 20 percent