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 last traded 2.2% down, according to Coin Metrics.
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 didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on whether they would be investigating what led to the issuance of the fake release.
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. The newswire did not return a call for comment.
Correction: The original version of this article cited a fake press release in reporting a partnership between Walmart and Litecoin. Walmart later confirmed that no such partnership exists.