Walmart Inc (WMT.N) said on Monday that it was investigating how news release distributor GlobeNewswire produced a bogus press release advertising collaboration with litecoin, which briefly led to near 30 percent rises in the cryptocurrency.
The fake news release celebrating Walmart’s adoption of bitcoin as an online payment method caused a sharp rise in its price, but the gains were short-lived once Walmart published a statement claiming the press release was fake.
“Walmart had no knowledge of the press release issued by GlobeNewswire and there is no truth to it. Walmart has no relationship with litecoin,” said the company spokesperson.
GlobeNewswire issued a statement instructing readers to “disregard” the news release and stating that it had implemented additional 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 said in an emailed statement.
Litecoin Foundation, on the other hand, indicated in a Twitter message that it had no idea where the press release came from.
The foundation is a non-profit organization headed by litecoin founder Charlie Lee, who told Reuters in an email that the fraud was being examined but that no progress had been made. Lee also stated that he barely owns five litecoins and hence has no motivation to make the fake announcement himself.
Referring to a now-deleted post by litecoin’s verified Twitter handle sharing the fake announcement, Lee said: “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.” said the company spokesperson.