Globe Newswire, where the bogus story first appeared, has now launched a full investigation.
The Litecoin Foundation “screwed up” by retweeting a fake announcement that Walmart planned to accept the coin as a payment method, the cryptocurrency’s creator has said.
Charlie Lee told Bloomberg that the organization aims to avoid distributing fake news — and stressed that it had no involvement in the publication of the bogus release.
The announcement seemed credible at first glance, and proclaimed that LTC “will enable shoppers to experience a very smooth checkout experience with near instant transaction confirmation.”
But there were small clues that the press release wasn’t genuine — and quotes attributed to Charlie Lee and Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillion were extracted out of thin air.
Reuters and CNBC — alongside a number of crypto media outlets — ended up covering the announcement as breaking news. Some journalists would have also regarded the tweet from the Litecoin Foundation’s official account as confirmation that the story was legit.
Litecoin Surges, Then Falls
The question now is how a malicious actor was able to masquerade as Walmart — one of the world’s biggest retailers — through Globe Newswire, the service that companies use to share announcements with journalists and investors.
In a statement, Globe Newswire told CoinMarketCap:
“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.”