Published: September 16, 2021
On Monday, the price of Litecoin rose dramatically following a news release claiming that Walmart would accept it as payment. The announcement was made at 9:30 a.m., just as the stock market in the United States started. It was soon, however, proved to be fake. By that time, the Litecoin price increased from around $175 to nearly $230 per token before falling back to about $180.
The fake news release claimed that starting October 1st, Walmart would start accepting payment in Litecoin. It included quotes that appeared to come from both the Litecoin founder and the Walmart chief executive. Later, Walmart alerted US news organizations that the statement was fake. By then, several major press agencies and news sites had already spread the false information.
So, when CNBC contacted Walmart representatives by phone, they were informed the press release was false. CNBC stated it was one of the media sources that issued the article before realizing it was untrue.
It’s unclear how the news ended up on GlobalNewswire, one of the platforms used for press release distribution. The false announcement was removed promptly.
A retweet about the release from a verified Litecoin Twitter account was also removed. The Litecoin Foundation then tweeted that it made no such deal.
It’s unclear who was behind the false news release. That being said, securities lawyers predict that the fake release will prompt an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and possible charges against the scammers.