U.S. SEC has not approved bitcoin ETFs, says social media account was compromised

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said Tuesday afternoon that a social media post saying it had approved a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) was false and its account had been compromised. 

A post on X, formerly known as Twitter, said that the SEC had granted approval for bitcoin ETFs on all registered national securities exchanges and included a picture purporting to quote SEC Chair Gary Gensler. 

By 4:11 PM ET, the post on the SEC’s X account had received at least 1 million views.

Fewer than 20 minutes later, it was no longer visible and appeared to have been deleted.

An agency spokesperson said Tuesday the SEC has not yet granted that approval and that its X account had been compromised, without providing additional details.

The SEC was widely expected on Wednesday to finally approve a batch of ETFs that track the price of bitcoin, in a potential watershed moment for the crypto industry.

The price of bitcoin shot up to around $64,000 Cdn on the fake post, before falling to below $60,000 minutes later. It was last down 3.15 per cent at $60,938 after the SEC deleted and disavowed the information. Some analysts had expected bitcoin to fall on the ETF approvals, after gaining more than 70 per cent in recent months on the expectation of a green light.

An SEC spokesperson declined to say whether authorities have begun to investigate the compromise or whether the incident will affect potential approvals. The SEC has previously rejected all spot bitcoin ETF proposals over fears of market manipulation.

Executives from some of the ETF issuers, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said they were startled and surprised by the initial tweet.

One executive said he was “concerned” that the SEC might delay or withhold approval for spot bitcoin ETFs as a result of the hack.

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