Walmart Inc stated on Monday that it was investigating how news release distributor GlobeNewswire published a false press release touting a relationship with litecoin, which temporarily led to near 30 percent increases in the digital currency.
The bogus news release promoting Walmart’s adoption of litecoin as an online payment method caused a sharp rise in its value, but the gains were short-lived as Walmart published a statement claiming the press release was false.
“Walmart had no knowledge of the press release issued by GlobeNewswire and there is no truth to it. Walmart has no relationship with litecoin,” a firm’s representative noted.
GlobeNewswire issued a statement instructing readers to “ignore” the news release and stating that it has implemented improved authentication procedures to prevent a repeat of the occurrence.
“We will work with the appropriate authorities to request – and facilitate – a full investigation, including into any criminal activity associated with this matter,” GlobeNewswire stated in an emailed statement.
Separately, the Litecoin Foundation stated on Twitter that it did not know the press release’s source.
The foundation is a non-profit organization controlled by litecoin founder Charlie Lee, who informed Reuters in an email that the fraud was being examined but that no progress had been made.
Lee also stated that he owns just five litecoins and thus has no motivation to make the bogus statement himself.
Lee stated, pointing to a now-deleted tweet from litecoin’s verified Twitter account that shared the false notification: “It was our mistake for retweeting using @litecoin.”
“We will make sure to have stricter controls on our social media accounts so that something like this doesn’t happen again.”
Many other news organizations have reported on the collaboration, and all of them have withdrawn the news.