A Walmart spokesperson said a statement announcing the partnership was “not authentic,” while a verified Litecoin account deleted a post containing a link to the document.
Cryptocurrency markets were falling Monday after Walmart Inc. denied an agreement to use Litecoin in transactions. Litecoin, which was up as much as 33%, erased all of its gains. Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, was down 2% at 11:25 AM (ET) after advancing as much as 4%. Other digital assets were also falling.
A Walmart spokesperson said a statement announcing the partnership that had been published on Globe Newswire was “not authentic,” while a verified Litecoin account deleted a post containing a link to the document
The news, which was quickly denied, spread like wildfire on Twitter, where much of the conversation about cryptocurrencies takes place. Supporters of cryptocurrencies (though they wondered why Walmart might partner with a lesser-known and lesser-used currency than Bitcoin, for example) were delighted to see another big name backing the move.
that reinforced the ‘polycoin’ thesis to a black eye for the space in a matter of minutes,” said Stephane Ouellette, CEO and co-founder of FRNT Financial. “Market manipulation threats have been one of the main focuses of regulators’ attention around these assets and to say this will get their attention is an extreme understatement.”
Scams in the cryptocurrency world are not new. In the summer of 2020, the Twitter accounts of some of America’s most prominent political and business leaders were hacked in an apparent effort to promote a Bitcoin scam. Everyone from Barack Obama and Joe Biden to Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett were targeted in the attack.
The efforts behind the Litecoin scam included the creation of an email address based on a fake domain name, as well as a fake press release that included quotes attributed to Walmart executives. The release was sent to a well-known public relations service and was picked up by major media outlets such as CNBC, Reuters and Bloomberg News.
While shenanigans continually arise in the financial markets that move asset prices, cryptocurrencies seem to be a particularly fertile ground for this. Unlike stocks, trading is mostly untraceable: scammers leave few traces for regulators to follow. And it doesn’t take much to move assets. Traders are used to expecting hysterical price reactions to lame news, for example, when Elon Musk tweets his approval of a crypto project.
With a market cap of more than $406 billion, Walmart has previously hinted that it would be looking into cryptocurrencies. In August, the company posted a job listing for an expert who could develop a digital currency strategy and product roadmap, but did not specifically mention that it would introduce a path to crypto payments. In addition, Walmart has used blockchain technology as of 2016 for supply chain management, customer marketplaces and smart devices.
Cointelegraph reached out to Walmart and the Litecoin Foundation, but did not receive a response at the time of publication. This story may be updated.