Kroger says it is not accepting bitcoin cash after fake press release sends the crypto briefly soaring

In this photo illustration the Kroger logo is seen displayed on a smartphone.
Kroger. Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Kroger Company on Friday confirmed it is not accepting bitcoin cash after a fake press release said the American grocery chain was embracing cryptocurrencies ahead of the holidays.

The release was published on PRNewswire, a website where major companies post announcements, and also appeared on Kroger’s investor relations page, which automatically posted the release. Both have since deleted the phony announcement.

Media outlets initially fell for the hoax, which led to a brief 5% bitcoin cash price rally. But soon after, Kroger debunked the crypto news.

“This communication was fraudulent and is unfounded and should be disregarded,” a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.

Kroger has not responded to Insider’s multiple requests for comment.

The incident was reminiscent of what happened in September with Walmart, which experienced almost the exact same situation.

GlobeNewswire also published a fake press release claiming Walmart would allow shoppers to pay using litecoin. The post was deleted a few hours later but not before media outlets picked it up and not before litecoin spiked 25%.

Both incidents laid bare the risks fake press releases pose to various assets, particularly cryptocurrencies, which are already volatile in themselves.

Companies such as Newswire, a competitor to GlobeNewswire, told Insider in September that distributors issue thousands of press releases per day, especially during busy parts of the year like earnings season. The tremendous volume makes it challenging to confirm every single one.

Bitcoin cash, founded in 2017, was created by bitcoin miners and developers to respond to the growing concerns regarding bitcoin’s scalability among others.

Kroger shares were trading lower by 2.90% to $US42.16 ($AU57) as of 12:31 p.m. ET.