Walmart ICO Scam Pushes Press Release to Popular Crypto Media Outlets

In a systematic ICO scam attempt, individuals claiming to be Walmart press officials have contacted a number of media outlets, including CryptoSlate, announcing the sale of tokens for the retail giant’s supposed Ethereum-based payments network at WalmartLeaf.com.

The dubious campaign comes on the heels of Walmart, the largest corporation in the world with an annual revenue to outstrip Apple and Exxon Mobil combined, announcing it would be utilizing IBM’s blockchain-based food traceability solution.

From Farm to Table…to ICO?

Playing on this much-lauded revelation, an entity going by ‘Walmart Projects’ contacted CryptoSlate by email in an apparent attempt to propagate a bogus press release. The release’s purported author, Jennifer Stanton, wrote:

“Walmart Inc. is pleased to announce the development of a new blockchain service WalmartLeaf.com, the decentralized financial asset management network, to realize the world’s most reliable retail money transfer system and the ability to finalize transactions in less than 2 seconds. Suppliers will transition ecommerce payments from cash to digital on the Ethereum network in the form of ERC20 Tokens.”

Such a mission would seem a little off-course for Walmart, whose well-stocked basket of conquests wouldn’t seem to have room for the lofty goal of “reinventing the asset management industry.”

Should Walmart indeed have strayed onto Wall Street, however, their new venture appears to have been executed with the smoothness of sandpaper.

Per the site’s roadmap,  Walmart Leaf was conceived in Q1, 2018. And yet, domain records state the URL was purchased not until October 10th — inconceivably, the same day as the disbursement of the press release.

Digging deeper, the claim of sub-two-second transactions on Ethereum — which would also put Walmart at odds with its IBM deal — would warrant further investigation, and yet a number of details would raise eyebrows even for those unfamiliar with the ins-and-outs of blockchain.

Just a Typo

When queried by CryptoSlate, the email’s author claimed “internal miscommunication” about the project’s official name had resulted in a botched URL, and that in fact the address had been amended to ‘WalmartLeaf.com’.

Perhaps the final coup de grâce, however, is the trumpeting of its ‘Walmart Leaf Token’ presale—which is requesting contributions in Ethereum, Bitcoin—with fiat payment methods being “no longer available” according to the site (equally astonishing may be the claim of secured listings on Binance, Bitfinex, and various other “top-tier” exchanges, without any comment or endorsement from said partners). The press release noted:

“Presale of the Walmart Leaf Tokens (WAL) will begin October 2018 will last until 75% (750,000,000 WAL) are distributed and 25% (250,000,000) is retained for sale to Walmart retailers. In total 1,000,000,000 WAL tokens are assigned. Purchasers from the presale will receive an email to claim their tokens within a few days.”

CryptoSlate reached out to Walmart for clarification and received the following statement. May buyers beware.

“Walmart has not announced a cryptocurrency payment method for customers. Websites under the names WalmartProjects.com and WalmartLeafy.com are fraudulent and have no connections to Walmart.com or WalmartLabs.com. Walmartleafy.com has been taken down and we are working with the proper agencies to address the other. Walmart will continue to keep customers informed of changes made to payment methods and encourage them to stay vigilant.”

Cover Photo by Andrew Worley on Unsplash

Posted In: ICOs, Scams
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Jonnie Emsley

Jonnie Emsley

Fintech Journalist @ CryptoSlate

Jonnie is a writer and blockchain enthusiast based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Discovering new corners of the world and emerging tech trends makes him tick.

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