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Kroger dismisses announcement that it will accept Bitcoin Cash

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Kroger won’t be accepting Bitcoin Cash at its grocery stores across the country: A press release purportedly from the company released Friday was fake, the company said.

It’s the latest scam involving a cryptocurrency and a retailer. In September, scammers sent out a fake press release from Walmart saying that it would begin accepting a digital coin for payment.

The Friday spoof statement, which said Kroger would begin accepting Bitcoin Cash, even appeared on the company’s investor relations web page and on a global newswire for official press releases. It was picked up by some members of the financial press.

But the largest supermarket chain in the US told The Wall Street Journal that the release was “fraudulent and is unfounded and should be disregarded.”

It’s not clear if the fake post was meant to manipulate the price of Bitcoin Cash, but price data from Coindesk shows a spike in the cryptocurrency early Friday morning Eastern time around the time the release apparently spread among investors.

The fake announcement included a quote from Kroger Chief Executive Rodney McMullen, saying that he saw the acceptance of cryptocurrency as the “natural progression” of a trend to deal less with physical cash. The company said this quote also was manufactured.

Coindesk data shows a spike in the price of Bitcoin Cash around the time the fake release hit the wires.

On PR Newswire, the global wire for business press releases, the wire issued a statement from the company: “We are advised by The Kroger Co. that journalists and other readers should disregard the news release, Kroger to Accept Bitcoin Cash This Holiday Season, issued earlier today over PR Newswire, as it is incorrect and was not authorized by the Company.”

PR Newswire itself didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from the Journal.

In September, a similar situation occurred with Walmart, in which many news outlets reported that Walmart had a partnership with Litecoin.

Kroger's CEO, Rodney McMullen.
A fake Kroger press release included a quote from CEO, Rodney McMullen. The company says the quote also was made up.
REUTERS

Shares of Litcoin spiked by more than 25 percent after the reports.

But a spokesperson for Walmart later said: “Walmart was the subject of a fake news release issued on Monday, Sept. 13, that falsely stated Walmart announced a partnership with Litecoin (LTC).”

“Walmart had no knowledge of the press release issued by GlobeNewswire, and it is incorrect. Walmart has no relationship with Litecoin,” the statement said.

Digital bitcoin currency symbol abstract
In September, Walmart was also the subject of a fake press release about cryptocurrency.
Getty Images

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