Walmart recently announced that it is working with IBM and their produce suppliers to enable transparency and efficiency to its supply chain. That much is true. What is completely fake however, is the Ethereum Walmart Token that has been making the rounds.
We received the email announcing the new and totally fake token “WAL” from “firstname.lastname@example.org”. The email felt legitimate. It included an attached press release as well as some links to information about Walmart’s blockchain program.
I started to get a little suspicious however, when I noticed that none of the materials hosted on walmart’s site mentioned the token, only the attached email mentioned it. So I decided to go to walmartprojects.com and see what it was all about. It looked like a legitimate Walmart site exploring their technology focused initiatives. But then I noticed I was no longer on walmartprojects.com, I had been redirected to walmartlabs.com
That was odd, but perhaps they wanted to keep the token secret so they haven’t launched walmartprojects.com yet. So I decided to check into the Whois information. Walmartprojects.com, as well as walmartleafy.com where the supposed token is being sold, were both registered by “email@example.com” It was a little suspicious that Walmart would have their PR email account register websites. Adding to that suspicion was the fact that both Walmart.com and Walmartlabs.com don’t provide an email address in their whois information.
But what really gave it away was the Walmart token sale itself. Walmartleafy.com offered to sell tokens immediately to anyone who asked. The real Walmart blockchain program asked suppliers to go to a portal hosted by IBM for the “next steps” but the walmartleafy website simply asked for money. Furthermore, both the Credit Card and Wire Transfers payment options were grayed out. Apparently, Walmartleafy only wants Bitcoin or Ethereum. I somehow doubt Walmart is going to force their suppliers to buy Bitcoin and/or Ethereum before selling their goods.
But it was a clever social engineering scam. The Walmartprojects.com email, the redirect to the legitimate walmartlabs.com, the inclusion of the very real and very recent news of Walmart using the blockchain. It all seemed so plausible, until you really started to think about it.
Why would Walmart need an Ethereum token to track items on the blockchain? That can already be done using small amounts of Bitcoin. Or IBM’s own enterprise solution (which is what they are using). Why would they demand that their suppliers buy their token when the more sensible thing would be to make the token next to valueless, so that it doesn’t add unnecessary costs?
In any case, I contacted Walmart, on the off chance that this might be legitimate, here is what they got back to me with.
“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 – we are working with the proper agencies to ensure they are reported and removed. Walmart will continue to keep customers informed of changes we make to payment methods and encourage them to stay vigilant.”
Which is probably something a few different media outlets should have done. At press time it appears that Walmartleafy.com has been taken down. Regardless, the WAL token is fake, it isn’t from Walmart, and if you buy some, you will lose your money.
We will update you if there are any changes to Walmart’s actual blockchain program.