(Reuters) – Kroger Co. is investigating the issuance of a fake press release claiming acceptance of Bitcoin Cash in its stores, the grocer said on Friday, after becoming the second major retailer in recent weeks to become entangled in a cryptographic hoax. .
The statement, which said the grocer would accept the cryptocurrency this holiday season, appeared on Kroger’s investor relations page and was later deleted.
The company said the page, which updates automatically, receives a direct feed from PR Newswire, where the fake version has also appeared.
“This communication was fraudulent and unfounded and should be ignored,” a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement, adding that Kroger was in contact with PRN on the matter.
PRN withdrew the false announcement and said it was “urgently investigating the incident, including any criminal activity associated with this matter.”
Bitcoin cash is a fork of the underlying Bitcoin software code formed in 2017, and was an initiative led by a small group of Bitcoin miners primarily based in China.
Walmart Inc. was the subject of a cryptocurrency hoax in September when a fake press release was issued announcing a partnership between the world’s largest retailer and Litecoin. The news briefly sent the prices of the little-known cryptocurrency surge.
Despite a series of hoaxes, cryptocurrencies are increasingly accepted by mainstream investors and companies such as the movie chain AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., which said in September that it would accept Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash. and Litecoin for ticket purchases in the coming months.
Bitcoin prices turned slightly negative after Kroger said the post was bogus.
A spokesperson for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission said the agency would not comment on the “existence or non-existence” of a possible investigation into the bogus press release.