Saudi Aramco is the third corporate titan targeted by fake Bitcoin news in the past month, prompting the petrochemical overlord to quash claims it was to mine the cryptocurrency earlier this week.
Rumors had swirled about the company generating Bitcoin with surplus gas from its drilling operations.
Saudi Aramco long held the title of the largest public stock in the world (until Apple and Microsoft recently overtook it).
So, the Dhahran giant opting into Bitcoin mining would’ve been an historic boon for the industry.
However, Saudi Aramco kept its rebuttal short in a Monday statement:
“With reference to recent reports claiming that [we] will embark on Bitcoin mining activities, [Saudi] Aramco confirms that these claims are completely false and inaccurate.”
But the incident is only the latest in a string of fake news stories about major international companies and Bitcoin.
Apple and Amazon — the first and fifth most valuable stocks in the world — both got the same treatment last month.
Apple buys Bitcoin (fake news)
Early morning on July 12, Twitter account @GalaxyTrading_ tweeted:
“Rumors that #Apple have purchased more than [$2 billion] in #Bitcoin,” complete with flushed face and Bitcoin emoji.
A series of media reports amplified the
gossip fake Bitcoin news over the next few days.
Hypebeast wrote “Apple Bought $2.5B USD Worth of Bitcoin” before adding the ‘rumored’ part at a later point.
London’s CityAM opted for a similar, longer headline but avoided weighing in (“Rumours of Apple Bitcoin purchase swirl on social media, but are they to be believed?”).
- went for $33,700 at the time of @GalaxyTrading’s tweet,
- traded mostly sideways for the next two weeks,
- appears least affected by Apple, compared to the other rumors.
Social media generally played it off as a joke. Apple still hasn’t denied the reports but didn’t declare any Bitcoin in its latest earnings.
Two weeks later (between 23:00 UTC, July 25 and 01:00 UTC, July 26), Bitcoin inexplicably surged from $34,700 to $40,000 — a 15% rally in two hours.
Amazon accepts Bitcoin (fake)
Two hours after that 15% Bitcoin rally (at 03:39 UTC, July 26), CityAM published an article titled: “Amazon ‘definitely’ lining up Bitcoin payments and token, confirms insider.”
Amazon was prepping to accept crypto by the end of the year, said CityAM’s anonymous source. They also claimed Amazon may even debut its own digital currency sometime in 2022.
The price of Bitcoin rose 20% (from $31,800 to $40,000) in the four days between the job ad and CityAM’s report.
Amazon denied the rumors later on July 26, but outlets still rolled the two juicy news bites into one sweaty ball of dough over the next week.
Bloomberg even ran a sponsored piece on July 30 titled “Amazon Has 1.55 Trillion Reasons to Start Accepting Crypto,” each reason being a dollar of the market cap of all cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin largely held onto its gains until another rumor started to circulate. This time, oil magnate Saudi Aramco was ready to mine Bitcoin.
Saudi Aramco mines Bitcoin (guess)
The fake Bitcoin news about state-owned oil producer Saudi Aramco traces back to a YouTube podcast featuring Brazilian crypto entrepreneur Ray Nasser.
Released on July 29, on the podcast Nasser claimed he and his Bitcoin mining companies were working with Saudi Aramco to help make use of its excess gas.
“We are negotiating with [Saudi Aramco],” said Nasser (quote via Finbold). “All black liquid that comes out of the desert belongs to this company.”
“All the flared gas they’re not using, and that’s public information, I can tell you, it’s enough to ‘power up’ half of the Bitcoin network today, from this company alone.”
Nasser made some waves on Twitter, propelled by articles from smaller outlets.
Saudi Aramco issued a press release three days later (on August 2) to formally deny it was getting into Bitcoin mining.
Bitcoin rose up to 6% between release of the Nasser podcast and Saudi Aramco’s denial (from $40,000 to $42,500).
BTC has since given up those gains.
All things considered, the fake Bitcoin news about Amazon impacted markets the most, followed by Saudi Aramco, then Apple.