Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the United States and the second biggest retailer after Walmart, recently set aside a rumor that the store would be accepting Bitcoin Cash as a form of payment.
The rumor was based on a press release on Kroger’s website, which said the grocer would be accepting Bitcoin Cash. Derived from Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash enables the processing of more transactions because of larger block sizes, and is considered an initiative mostly led by China-based miners.
According to Reuters, Kroger representatives claimed that the page was automatically updated from a direct feed connected to Cision-owned PR Newswire (PRN), where the release was also found.
“This morning a press release was fraudulently issued claiming to be The Kroger Co. that falsely stated the organization will begin to accept Bitcoin Cash. This communication was fraudulent and is unfounded and should be disregarded,” said a Kroger spokesperson in a statement.
PRN and Kroger immediately removed the fake report, and PRN said that it was investigating the incident along with checking whether there were any “criminal” elements involved.
Kroger is not alone in the crypto-related fraud. Walmart was subject to a similar scheme in September when another press release by GlobeNewswire was circulating regarding a partnership between the retailer and Litecoin.
A similarity between both incidents was that there were variations in the prices of the cryptocurrencies when the news was leaked. Bitcoin went up to $636 and then settled down to around $600 when Kroger clarified its stance, while Litecoin was seen to be surging during the Walmart news release.
Many retailers have begun accepting cryptocurrencies as alternate forms of payment. Subway started back in 2013 and KFC has an exclusive bucket which can only be bought using Bitcoin. Service providers like AT&T and DishNetwork accept crypto payments, Starbucks enables you to pay for your coffee through third party payment app Bakkt.
According to some estimates, almost 14 percent of American adults own cryptocurrencies. With the increased usage, fraudulent incidents regarding digital currencies have also gone up. There have been outright exchange frauds where eager investors put in money but find out later that they cannot withdraw it.
Then, there is the pumping and dumping of fake currencies where coins based on popular themes are set up. The price is pushed up based on trends, the original makers cash out, while the investor is left with nothing as the coin drops in value. According to The Motley Fool, an investing advice company, Americans lost more than $80 million in cryptocurrency scams between October 2020 and April 2021.