The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said its social media account was hacked after a false message regarding the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs was posted on the SEC’s X account.
It all happened about just about 4 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 9th.
The SEC post – which got more than 1 million views in less than a half hour before the SEC quickly took it down – claimed that the regulatory agency was planning on approving the crypto ETF to be listed on the US national securities exchanges.
The post included an image with a quoted statement attributed to SEC Chair Gary Gensler, apparently a fake.
“The @SECGov X account was compromised, and an unauthorized post was posted,” the SEC wrote without providing any other details.
“The SEC has not approved the listing and trading of spot bitcoin exchange-traded products,” it posted on X (formally known as Twitter).
The post came only a day before the SEC was expected to actually grant the approval of the spot bitcoin ETFs in a long-awaited and widely anticipated moment for the crypto world.
The fake post caused the price of bitcoin to spike from about $45,000 to $48,000 for a short few minutes, coming back down to just over $45,000 once the SEC declared the hack and deleted the post.
According to Fox Business Network's Charles Gasparino, legal sources say the SEC will be forced to "investigate itself for market manipulation" due to the incident.
Securities lawyers also told Gasparino that "the BTC ETF announcement hack would have violated new SEC rules adopted in July that require a high level of 'cybersecurity risk management.'"
Ironically, the SEC has previously rejected all spot bitcoin ETF proposals over fears of market manipulation.
Numerous crypto insiders also questioned how the SEC account was hacked, yet the agency, miraculously, was able to gain control of the account and delete the post so quickly.
Others worry the SEC could now delay or simply deny the approval for the crypto product to be listed and traded on all US registered security exchanges because of the hack.
The SEC said it was working with law enforcement to investigate the hack and "related conduct,” but declined to say whether the compromise would have an effect on future approvals for the crypto product.
Meantime, Reuters reported that X's head of business operations, Joe Benarroch, said the SEC's account was secure and an investigation has been launched into the "root cause" of the compromise.
According to Forbes, spot ETFs directly track the price of bitcoin, offering investors exposure to its price movements without owning the asset directly.
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