The cryptocurrency Litecoin saw its price rise by as much as 20 percent after a fake press release claimed Walmart had started accepting it as a payment method.
And it was posted press release Via GlobeNewswire linked to a non-functioning site, there was no evidence of any filing with the SEC, which was to be expected since Walmart went public.
Walmart’s official newsroom did not include the release, and the company usually uses Business Wire to distribute versions.
Several news outlets published reports based on the deceptive press release, and shortly afterwards the price of Litecoin jumped, along with the prices of other cryptocurrencies, before rapidly reversing to previous levels.
It is not yet clear who might be behind the deceptive press release. But Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove confirmed that the news announcement was fake. He also said the retailer is in contact with the news company to investigate how the false press release was published.
The cryptocurrency – which was up 33 percent at one point – lost almost all of its gains. Bitcoin, the largest digital asset, is down 2 percent after earlier rising nearly 4 percent.
Other digital assets also fell, with Bitcoin Cash, Ether and EOS all falling.
The news quickly spread across Twitter, and cryptocurrency supporters were thrilled to see another big name behind the movement. This is despite the fact that they questioned why Walmart is partnering with a lesser known and less used cryptocurrency than Bitcoin.
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Litecoin price jumps after fake press release
The news went from very good news for cryptocurrencies to a problem across the industry in a matter of minutes. The threat of market manipulation has been one of the main points that regulators focus on these assets, and this is what attracts their attention.
It is reported that crypto scams are not new. In the summer of 2020, the Twitter accounts of some of the most prominent political and business leaders in the United States were hacked in an apparent attempt to promote a Bitcoin scam. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett were all targeted as part of this attack.
The effort behind the Litecoin scam involved creating an email address based on a fake domain name. In addition to a fake news release that included quotes attributed to Wal-Mart executives.
And while the hoaxes that move asset prices appear in the financial markets all the time. Cryptocurrencies seem to provide a particularly fertile ground for scammers.
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