Bitcoin price jumps after hackers hijack SEC Twitter account

SEC Chair Gary Gensler said an unauthorized tweet was posted after the agency's Twitter account was compromised.
Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler testifies before the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee July 19, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The price of bitcoin briefly spiked on Tuesday after a post from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Twitter account claimed that the agency had approved exchanged traded funds to buy and sell the digital currency — a post the agency’s chairman subsequently said had occurred because its account on the social media platform X had been compromised.

Speculators and investors in bitcoin are eagerly awaiting news of whether the SEC will approve bitcoin ETFs — which is expected to cause a flood of purchases in the digital currency, driving up the price — and Tuesday’s post on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter seemed to confirm that the agency would greenlight the funds.

But no such decision has been made, SEC Chair Gary Gensler wrote on X.


In the less than 30 minutes that the SEC’s account was compromised, bitcoin shot up in price, nearly reaching $48,000 after trading around $46,500 on Tuesday. After Gensler’s statement that the agency had not approved a bitcoin ETF, the price of the digital currency plummeted to below $46,000.

The SEC did not offer any details on Tuesday as to how its account had been compromised.

An SEC spokesperson said that the agency “determined that there was unauthorized access to and activity on the @SECGov account by an unknown party for a brief period of time shortly after 4 p.m.” and that “unauthorized access has been terminated.”

“The SEC will work with law enforcement and our partners across government to investigate the matter and determine appropriate next steps relating to both the unauthorized access and any related misconduct,” the spokesperson added.

Former Twitter employees have raised concerns about security practices at X following its takeover by Elon Musk, who has slashed spending and has instituted widespread layoffs. Last week, hackers hijacked the Twitter account belonging to the Google subsidiary Mandiant and used the account to direct users toward what appeared to be a cryptocurrency scam.


Tuesday’s incident is not the first time the takeover of a prominent Twitter account has resulted in wide swings in financial markets. When hackers compromised the Associated Press’s Twitter account in 2013 and used it to post a false report of explosions at the White House, which briefly sent stocks sharply downward.

FedScoop reporter Rebecca Heilweil contributed reporting to this article.

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