Walmart has been making a real name for itself in the crypto space. Many analysts were thrilled when the retailer announced not too long ago that it was looking to hire a crypto product specialist for its new blockchain division, suggesting that the firm was following in the steps of Amazon, one of its biggest competitors.
Walmart and Litecoin… If Only!
According to a recent news release, the company had engaged in a partnership with leading altcoin Litecoin, which emerged in the year 2011 following a hard fork of bitcoin, the world’s most popular digital currency. Following the issuance of the release, crypto fans celebrated on social media platforms and the price of Litecoin shot up by as much as 20 percent. It seemed like the asset was unstoppable… until it was revealed just moments later that the release was a hoax, and no partnership of any kind had been formed.
The initial nature of the press release was that Walmart would accept Litecoin for payments. Already, one had to assume that something was a little fishy about the statement. The company made no mention of bitcoin, meaning it was allegedly not willing to accept BTC – the largest and most powerful crypto asset in the world – but was willing to give the greenlight to payments initiated through a smaller competitor? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when one puts two and two together.
Either way, it looks like the release was widely distributed and believed before Walmart could get the news under control. At the time of writing, it is unclear who issued the release or who wrote it. It is also not clear how the news came about, though Walmart has explained on its website that it is now looking into the matter while also assuring its customers that there is no partnership whatsoever between it and Litecoin.
A Walmart spokesperson explained in an interview:
We are digging into it further to understand what happened.
The situation seems innocent enough. After all, if the perpetrator is found out, all he would have to do is issue an apology and promise never to do anything like that again, right? Well, as it turns out, situations like these can wreak havoc on the allegedly issuing company, in this case Walmart. As the retailer is a publicly traded business, Walmart could potentially face liabilities from organizations and agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which could open its own investigation into the company to discover what happened.
This Can Be a Serious Problem
Speaking with The New York Times, Andrew Calamari – a lawyer with Finn Dixon & Herling and a former securities director with the SEC’s New York office – mentioned in a statement:
It is a misrepresentation involving a public issuer.