Walmart says litecoin tie-up statement fake; cryptocurrency jolted

Litecoin jumped about 30 per cent, but those gains quickly faded following statements from Walmart. — Reuters pic
Litecoin jumped about 30 per cent, but those gains quickly faded following statements from Walmart. — Reuters pic

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NEW YORK, Sept 14 — Walmart Inc said on Monday that a news release announcing a partnership with litecoin, which briefly led to near 30 per cent gains in the cryptocurrency, was fake.

The retailer said it was looking into how such an announcement, which touted the acceptance of litecoin at Walmart stores, was issued earlier in the day by news release distributor GlobeNewswire.

“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 company spokesperson told Reuters.

GlobeNewswire published a notice to “disregard” the news release and said it had put in place enhanced authentication steps to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.

“We will work with the appropriate authorities to request — and facilitate — a full investigation, including into any criminal activity associated with this matter,” GlobeNewswire said in an emailed statement.

Separately, the Litecoin Foundation said in a Twitter post that it had no information on where the news release had originated. The foundation is a non-profit organization that promotes the cryptocurrency and is run by litecoin creator Charlie Lee.

Lee told Reuters in an email the hoax was being investigated but little headway had been made so far.

Litecoin jumped about 30 per cent following the fake statement, as crypto traders were buoyed by the prospect of the world’s largest retailer accepting cryptocurrency payments. But those gains quickly faded following statements from Walmart, with the cryptocurrency last up just about 4 per cent.

Bitcoin prices also slipped after briefly turning positive following the hoax. Walmart shares opened higher on Monday, but closed down 0.6 per cent.

Reuters and other news outlets had reported on the partnership. Reuters withdrew its initial story.  — Reuters

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