On Monday, Litecoin investors were overjoyed as the price surged to new highs. This was all in the wake of positive crypto news surrounding Walmart. It was revealed in a ”press release” that the U.S. supermarket chain would be accepting Litecoin as a form of payment. There was just one problem: It was fake.
The press release was published through a legitimate press channel called Global Newswire and claimed that all of Walmart’s digital stores would provide the option to pay for goods using LTC. But Walmart later told US media outlets that the announcement was in fact “inauthentic”.
It is not clear how the announcement made it on to Global Newswire, a service widely used to distribute press material from companies, but several major news websites and press agencies subsequently spread the supposed news before Walmart had a chance to quash the fake news.
“Before the news was debunked, the price of Litecoin jumped from about £125 per token to close to £170, before falling back near its original price, at about £128.”
The faked release has since been deleted and did not appear on Walmart’s own website. But before the news was debunked, the price of Litecoin jumped from about £125 per token to close to £170, before falling back near its original price, at about £128.
It is not clear who was behind the fake press release, or how they managed to publish it. Often called “pump and dump” schemes, these see bad actors attempt to raise hype around a coin, inflating its price, and quickly sell off their own stock before the market corrects itself.
The false press release claimed that Walmart would be accepting LTC across all Walmart eCommerce platforms from the 1st of October. It contained quotes that appeared to come from both the Walmart chief executive and the founder of Litecoin.
However, suspicions began to arise when eagle-eyed readers noticed a press contact email address pointed to a web domain that had been registered only last month. Of course, Emails to that address also bounced when sent. When CNBC finally reached Walmart themselves, they were informed that the press release was indeed a hoax.
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Naturally, the incident caused new concern amongst crypto critics who use the volatile nature of crypto prices as one of their main arguments. Particularly as an obstacle to be used in mainstream retail purchases.