The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday said that a social-media post on X falsely stating that it had approved spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds was created after an “unauthorized party” obtained control over the phone number connected with the agency’s account on the platform.
The markets regulator said its staff would “continue to assess whether additional remedial measures are warranted” in the wake of the breach, which occurred Tuesday and raised questions about cybersecurity at both the agency and the social-media platform, formerly known as Twitter.
The agency said it was coordinating with law enforcement on the matter, including with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
“Commission staff are still assessing the impacts of this incident on the agency, investors, and the marketplace but recognize that those impacts include concerns about the security of the SEC’s social media accounts,” the SEC said in a statement.
The confusion began on Tuesday afternoon, when the hacked post appeared on the SEC’s X account.
“Today the SEC grants approval for #Bitcoin ETFs for listing on registered national securities exchanges,” the post read. “The approved Bitcoin ETFs will be subject to ongoing surveillance and compliance measures to ensure continued investor protection.”
A second post appeared two minutes later that simply read “$BTC,” the SEC noted in its statement. The unauthorized user soon deleted that second post, but also liked two other posts by non-SEC accounts, according to the agency. The price of bitcoin BTCUSD, -1.43% rose sharply in the wake of the posts, before soon pulling back.
In response to the hack, SEC staff posted on the official X account of SEC Chair Gary Gensler announcing that the agency’s main account had been compromised, and that it had not yet approved any spot bitcoin exchange-traded products. Staff then deleted the initial unauthorized post, un-liked the liked posts and used the official SEC account to make a new post clarifying the situation, the agency said Friday.
The SEC also said that it had reached out to X for assistance Tuesday in the wake of the incident, and that agency staff believe the unauthorized access to the SEC’s account was “terminated” later in the day.
“While SEC staff is still assessing the scope of the incident, there is currently no evidence that the unauthorized party gained access to SEC systems, data, devices, or other social media accounts,” the agency said.
The following day, the SEC announced that it had, in fact, approved the listing and trading of spot bitcoin ETFs.
Wednesday’s move marked a breakthrough for the crypto industry, which for years has tried to get such ETFs off the ground in hopes of drawing more traditional investors to the digital-asset space.
Bitcoin was down 7.6% over a 24-period as of Friday evening.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently considering ‘additional measures’ after a hacked post led to false information regarding the approval of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). This incident has raised concerns about the regulatory oversight of cryptocurrency-related investment products and the potential risks it poses to investors.
The SEC’s Response to the Hacked Post
The SEC’s response to the hacked post on the approval of a Bitcoin ETF reveals the regulatory agency’s focus on addressing the spread of misleading information and market manipulation. In a statement issued following the incident, the SEC emphasized the importance of ensuring the integrity of the regulatory process and maintaining market transparency.
The Potential Impacts on Investors
The false announcement of the Bitcoin ETF approval highlights the susceptibility of the cryptocurrency market to misinformation and manipulation. This incident has the potential to impact investors in several ways:
Market Volatility: False information regarding the approval of a Bitcoin ETF can lead to market volatility, as investors react to the news and make investment decisions based on misinformation.
Loss of Trust: Instances of misinformation and market manipulation can erode investor confidence in the integrity of the cryptocurrency market and regulatory oversight, leading to a loss of trust in the investment ecosystem.
Regulatory Scrutiny: The SEC’s consideration of ‘additional measures’ in response to the hacked post could lead to increased regulatory scrutiny of cryptocurrency-related investment products, potentially impacting their accessibility and market dynamics.
What Investors Need to Know
In light of the incident involving the hacked post on the Bitcoin ETF approval, investors should be aware of the following considerations:
Verify Information Sources: Given the prevalence of misinformation in the cryptocurrency market, investors should verify information from multiple credible sources before making investment decisions.
Regulatory Developments: The SEC’s deliberations on ‘additional measures’ underscore the evolving regulatory landscape for cryptocurrency-related investment products. Investors should stay informed about regulatory developments and their potential impact on the market.
Risk Management: The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of implementing risk management strategies when investing in cryptocurrency, including diversification, due diligence, and staying informed about market developments.
The Future of Bitcoin ETF Approval
The false announcement of the Bitcoin ETF approval has raised questions about the likelihood and timing of regulatory approval for such investment products. While the incident has sparked concerns about market manipulation and investor protection, it also underscores the potential demand for a regulated Bitcoin ETF in the investment landscape.
Case Study: Impact of False Information
In 2018, a false report claiming that Goldman Sachs was abandoning its plans to open a cryptocurrency trading desk led to a significant market downturn, demonstrating the impact of misinformation on investor sentiment and market dynamics.
Firsthand Experience: A Crypto Investor’s Perspective
“I was shocked to see the sudden surge in Bitcoin prices following the false announcement of the ETF approval. It’s a stark reminder of the risks associated with market manipulation and the importance of staying informed about regulatory developments.”
Practical Tips: Staying Informed and Vigilant
1. Verify News Sources: Cross-check information from reliable sources to prevent falling victim to misinformation.
2. Risk Management: Implement risk management strategies, including diversification, to mitigate the impact of market volatility.
3. Regulatory Awareness: Stay informed about regulatory developments and their potential impact on the cryptocurrency market.
The incident involving the hacked post on the Bitcoin ETF approval serves as a cautionary tale about the susceptibility of the cryptocurrency market to misinformation and market manipulation. Investors should remain vigilant, stay informed about regulatory developments, and implement risk management strategies to navigate the evolving landscape of cryptocurrency-related investment products. The SEC’s consideration of ‘additional measures’ underscores the importance of addressing the spread of false information and maintaining market integrity.