Litecoin, a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and open-source project forked from Bitcoin in 2011, experienced a sudden price spike after false news of a supposed partnership with Walmart made headlines in the crypto space.
Earlier today, a fake press release from perpetrators using the name of Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) began circulating. The debunked press release contained information that indicated how Walmart has supposedly formed a partnership with Litecoin Foundation, the organization behind the cryptocurrency.
According to the communication, the partnership would allow buyers and clients to purchase and pay for goods and services at the retailer using Litecoin ($LTC), citing the cryptocurrency’s “cheaper and faster” features and its lack of a “central authority” as pros for adoption.
The partnership program was supposedly called “Pay with Litecoin Option,” was later debunked by Jay Milla, director of marketing at the Litecoin Foundation. A Walmart spokesperson likewise confirmed that the press release was indeed “not authentic” and was not issued in official capacity by the retail firm.
The fake press release was published by GlobalNewswire, a press release news site owned by telecommunications company Intrado, while the original release has since been given by the platform a “notice to disregard” by 17:18 BST.
There had been no news whatsoever regarding the partnership in Walmart’s social media accounts, and the email domain included in the press release was curiously registered only a month ago.
The fact that major news outlets such as CNBC, Reuters, and Bloomberg ran the story as real news, was a dangerous situation. If the story were about more mainstream cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, or perhaps newer cryptocurrencies with more refined decentralized technologies such as Cardano, Solana, or Polkadot, a sudden price spike could have been used as a leverage by threat actor to manipulate mass sell-offs of a targeted cryptocurrency.
During the period in which the fake press release was in circulation and was covered by mainstream media and crypto news circuits, Litecoin experienced a spike from $174 to $237 (as shown below, based on data from CoinMarketCap). Litecoin later rebounded to its neutral levels as the news died down and was later confirmed to be fake.
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