Walmart (WMT) on Monday said a press release announcing a partnership with the cryptocurrency Litecoin was fake, sending the price of Litecoin lower after initially launching it higher earlier in the day. Bitcoin and other digital currency stocks also largely fell on Monday.
Meanwhile, the blockchain platform Cardano over the weekend rolled out a highly-anticipated upgrade that will allow users to create so-called smart contracts and other applications — potentially heightening its profile in a crypto world dominated by Bitcoin and Ethereum.
“Walmart was the subject of a fake news release issued on Monday, Sept. 13, that falsely stated Walmart announced a partnership with Litecoin (LTC),” the big-box and online retailer said in a statement. “Walmart had no knowledge of the press release issued by GlobeNewswire, and it is incorrect. Walmart has no relationship with Litecoin.”
GlobeNewswire, a press-release distribution site, published a notice to disregard the press release. A spokesman said the company had already put in place “enhanced authentication steps” to prevent future incidents, without elaborating on the measures taken.
“We will work with the appropriate authorities to request – and facilitate – a full investigation, including into any criminal activity associated with this matter,” he said.
GlobeNewswire did not answer emailed questions about who sent the release and when.
Earlier in the day, the release said that Walmart planned to allow its customers to make online purchases with the cryptocurrency Litecoin, sending the price of Litecoin some 26% higher. The statement added Walmart had collaborated with the Litecoin Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the currency.
“The Litecoin Foundation has not entered into a partnership with Walmart,” the foundation later tweeted.
Cardano’s ‘Alonzo’ Upgrade
Elsewhere, Cardano’s announcement of what it called the “Alonzo” upgrade could make the network and its own cryptocurrency more competitive with the Ethereum blockchain platform. One of Cardano’s founders earlier founded the Ethereum platform. Smart contracts are contracts that automatically go into effect once certain conditions are met.
Research and engineering company IOHK oversees Cardano. Charles Hoskinson — a co-founder of Ethereum — and Jeremy Wood founded IOHK in 2015.
The company, in a blog post on Sunday, said the upgrade, named after the mathematician Alonzo Church, will mark “a fresh period of rapid growth” that would allow functionality of decentralized finance apps and decentralized exchanges.
But it warned that development is still in early days.
“Let us be clear. There will be bumps in the road,” it said. “Early user experiences might not be perfect. Some early (decentralized applications) will have issues. We’ll see some great development teams and some poor ones. This is a permissionless, decentralized blockchain, so this is inevitable.”
Cardano Ada, Bitcoin Stocks Fall
Cardano’s own ADA token fell 9.4% to $2.44 on Monday. The price of Bitcoin fell 2.7% to $44,835. Litecoin was down 2.2% at $180.65.
Still, ahead of the upgrade, Nigel Green, chief executive of deVere Group, said he’s bullish on Cardano’s prospects.
“There’s no doubt that smart contracts are going to revolutionize most sectors including finance, real estate, legal, health care, and gaming,” he said in emailed commentary on Thursday. “And this is why Cardano is increasingly attractive for forward-thinking investors.”
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