14 Sep - 2 min read
Cryptocurrency Litecoin saw a spectacular spike in its price last night following the distribution of a fake press release, claiming that Walmart – an American multinational retailer – will be accepting the digital currency for payments.
The fake press release sent the price of Litecoin soaring by more than 30% within half an hour, peaking at US$240 (approximately RM996). It then retreated back to its pre-fake news price of around US$178 (approximately RM739) just as spectacularly. In all, the speculative spike and subsequent dump happened within an hour.
GlobeNewswire – which is owned by telecommunications company Intrado – had issued the false news release titled “Walmart Announces Major Partnership With Litecoin (LTC)” at 9.30am (Eastern Time) on 13 September 2021. It was then quickly picked up by major media organisations, including Reuters, CNBC, and Bloomberg. Even Litecoin’s official Twitter account tweeted about it – thus lending further credibility to the news – before it was eventually deleted.
Walmart subsequently responded with a statement to deny the claim: “Walmart was the subject of a fake news release issued on Monday, Sept. 13, that falsely stated Walmart announced a partnership with Litecoin (LTC). Walmart had no knowledge of the press release issued by GlobeNewswire, and it is incorrect. Walmart has no relationship with Litecoin.”
Litecoin Foundation, too, stepped forward to clarify that it has not entered into a partnership with Walmart, adding that the group “had no idea where the story came from.”
On the part of GlobeNewswire, it quickly issued a “notice to disregard” at 11.18am (Eastern Time), and pledged to investigate the matter. “This has never happened before and we have already put in place enhanced authentication steps to prevent this isolated 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,” it said, adding that a fraudulent user account was used to issue the release.
At the time of writing, Litecoin is trading locally at the price of RM751.
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