Fake press release causes cryptocurrency spike

The price of litecoin briefly surged on Monday following a fake press release saying Walmart had agreed to a partnership with the cryptocurrency.

The digital currency jumped around 30 percent following the publication on GlobalNewswire of the bogus news release, which resembled official press releases on the financial newswire.

Litecoin shot up to US$230 from US$175 in the moments after the “news” was relayed on other media.

However, the move quickly reversed after the hoax was exposed. The exchange rate retreated about an hour after the retraction to around US$179.

A spokesman for Walmart confirmed that the information was false.

A statement on GlobalNewswire advised readers to “disregard the news release “Walmart announces major partnership with Litecoin”.

Litecoin’s Twitter handle retweeted a statement from the Litecoin Foundation saying, “The Litecoin Foundation has not entered into a partnership with Walmart.”

GlobalNewswire did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The site is a rival to Business Wire and PR Newswire, which are well known venues for disseminating company news. (AFP)