GlobeNewswire blames Walmart-Litecoin fakery on 'fraudulent user account'

Litecoin is one of the oldest digital currencies in the cryptocurrency ecosystem

GlobeNewswire, the distribution service for press releases, is blaming a fake report on a purported Walmart-Litecoin partnership on bad actors. 

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WMT WALMART INC. 175.92 +5.53 +3.25%

"When GlobeNewswire became aware this morning that a fraudulent user account was used to issue an illegitimate press release we promptly withdrew the press release and issued a Notice to Disregard. 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," the company said in a statement provided to FOX Business. 

It is unclear whether the Securities and Exchange Commission or any other federal agencies are probing the incident. 

In response to an inquiry by FOX Business, the SEC said it "does not comment on the existence or nonexistence of a possible investigation."

Monday morning, around the time U.S. equity markets opened for trading, a press release went out stating Walmart and Litecoin had a deal on a new payment option. The release, which has since been deleted, contained a quote from CEO Doug McMillion. 

The price of Litecoin popped as high as $233.44 per coin Monday before turning lower on confirmation of the erroneous news. 

Walmart, blindsided, responded with the following statement. 

"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.

GlobeNewswire issued a notice across its service confirming that journalists and other readers should disregard the news release, ‘Walmart Announces Major Partnership With Litecoin (LTC)' issued September 13, 2021, over GlobeNewswire. All further questions should be directed to GlobeNewswire," it stated. 

FOX Business' Lucas Manfredi contributed to this report.