Cryptocurrency Litecoin saw a sudden surge in price on Monday over a press release about Walmart accepting it for payment – which turned out to be fake.
The release, published through a legitimate press channel, claimed that Walmart would accept the currency through all its digital stores.
Walmart later told US media outlets the announcement was “inauthentic”.
By that time, several major news websites and press agencies had spread the supposed news.
The announcement made it on to Globe Newswire, a service widely used to distribute press material from companies.
The faked release has since been deleted, and did not appear on Walmart’s own website.
A tweet from verified Litecoin Twitter account linking to the release has also been deleted. Hours later, the Litecoin Foundation tweeted it had no such partnership.
While it was being reported as fact, the price of Litecoin jumped from about 125 pounds per token to close to 170 pounds, before falling back near its original price, at about 128 pounds.
Globe Newswire said “a fraudulent user account was used to issue an illegitimate press release”.