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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Walmart says litecoin tieup statement fake; cryptocurrency jolted

Sept 13 (Reuters) – Walmart Inc (WMT.N) said on Monday that a press release announcing a partnership with litecoin, which briefly led to a nearly 30% surge in the cryptocurrency’s price, was fake.

The retailer said it was looking into how such an announcement, which was published by press release distributor GlobeNewswire, was issued earlier in the day.

“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.

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.

A Walmart sign is seen inside its department store in West Haven, Connecticut, U.S., February 17, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

After Walmart called it fake, GlobeNewswire published a notice to “disregard” the press release. However, it did not comment to a query by Reuters on the fake statement or the subsequent notice.

The false press release said Walmart would allow its customers to make payments with litecoin at its online stores. An email earlier sent to a contact person in the statement remained ‘undeliverable’.

Litecoin jumped about 30% following the fake statement, but they quickly pared gains and were last up just about 4%. Walmart shares opened higher on Monday, but were last trading down 0.8%.

Bitcoin prices also slipped after briefly turning positive following the hoax announcement.

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

Reporting by Uday Sampath and Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Anmil D’Silva

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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