SEC’s Twitter/X was compromised to post fake spot Bitcoin ETF approval: Gensler

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that its Twitter/X profile was compromised on Jan. 9 to post a false ETF approval message.

Gary Gensler, chair of the SEC, wrote:

“The [SEC] twitter account was compromised, and an unauthorized tweet was posted. The SEC has not approved the listing and trading of spot bitcoin exchange-traded products.”

The SEC separately removed its original announcement and posted an identical denial, but referred to the social media platform as “X” rather than “Twitter.”

Earlier, the SEC’s account posted a message reading:

 “Today the SEC grants approval for #Bitcoin ETFs for listing on all registered national securities exchanges. The approved Bitcoin ETFs will be subject to ongoing surveillance and compliance measures to ensure continued investor protection.”

That message was posted at approximately 9:30 p.m. UTC on Jan. 9 and was taken down within approximately ten minutes.

SEC error attracted backlash

The regulator’s error has attracted comments from various public figures. Gemini co-founder Cameron Winklevoss implied that the error could harm crypto prices, writing: “it would be great if the [SEC] would stop manipulating the Bitcoin market.

Tech specialist and whistlebower Edward Snowden, meanwhile, wrote to Gensler: “gary get your s—t together … you had one job.” Snowden and various other individuals on X also highlighted that the SEC previously called itself the best source of information on its own operations.

FOX Business reporter Charles Gasparino added that, according to securities lawyers, the supposed account compromise could have violated the SEC’s own cyber security rules. Those rules were adopted in July 2023 and came into effect in December 2023. The rules primarily set timely disclosure requirements for certain companies that experience a security breach.

It is still unclear whether the SEC prepared the original message in case it decides to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF in the coming days. Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas has speculated that the message was legitimate, but incorrectly scheduled. His colleague James Seyffart backed that speculation, noting the seeming authenticity of the SEC’s original tweet.

Balchunas maintained his prediction that the SEC will grant a spot Bitcoin ETF approval on Wednesday, Jan. 10. The regulator is required to reach a decision on Ark Invest’s application at that time.

Edit: This piece was updated to reflect the fact that the SEC said that its account was compromised rather than hacked.

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