Reuters and other entities fell for a spoof of Global Newswire where a brand new account pretending to be Walmart announced they are to accept Litecoin payments starting this October. They faked Doug McMillon, Walmart’s CEO, as stating:
“The momentum and excitement around the use of cryptocurrency are undeniable, and we are poised to make online shopping easy for our customers.
As a leading eCommerce store, we are committed to bringing innovations to the online shopping experience. By integrating Litecoin, we will enable shoppers to experience a very smooth checkout experience with near instant transaction confirmation, and near-zero fees regardless of where in the world they are.
We’re very excited to be working together with the Litecoin Foundation, and further innovate our business. Starting October 1st, all eCommerce stores will have implemented a ‘Pay with Litecoin Option.'”
Some may have speculated whether the recent rollout of bitcoin payments in El Salvador, where Walmart, McDonald’s and other retailers have to accept the crypto, contributed to the decision.
But as it happens they seemingly just tricked Global Newswire with pressures to publish then sending reports out before actual confirmations from Walmart come in.
The source for the press release, Walmart Inc, had no other press release on Global Newswire which itself should have been a red flag.
Moreover the email domain used in the press release, WALMART-CORP.COM, was registered just last month and does not go to any official site.
This should have been caught by GlobalNewswire, but it wasn’t. Leading to the generally trustworthy Reuters reporting it as fact with it still up as of writing.
As one might expect litecoin’s price has now fallen to $185 after rising by 30% to $235 on the back of this spoof.
Bitcoin also jumped to $47,000, but it now has fallen below where it was, above $44,0000, trading at $43,800 as of writing.