Wall Street watchdog Twitter hacked by Bitcoin scammers

The Twitter account of Wall Street’s top watchdog was taken over by Bitcoin scammers who pumped up its price with a fake message.

The social media account of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was “compromised” on Tuesday evening, its chairman said, after a post claimed the regulator had approved a Bitcoin exchange traded fund (ETF).

The price of Bitcoin briefly jumped by 2pc to reach over $47,900 on the message before crashing back after SEC chairman Gary Gensler disavowed the message.

He wrote on his personal Twitter account: “The SEC has not approved the listing and trading of spot Bitcoin exchange-traded products.”

The fake message on the official SEC Twitter account, which was swiftly deleted, will raise further questions about the operations of the social media platform under owner Elon Musk.

Mr Musk has slashed employee numbers at Twitter, since rebranded X, and placed many features behind a paywall, including more advanced forms of account security.

The spoof message comes as the market eagerly awaits a decision from the SEC on whether to approve Bitcoin ETFs. Investment giants BlackRock and Fidelity are among the companies wanting to launch funds.

ETFs are vehicles that would let investors gain exposure to Bitcoin without buying the cryptocurrency itself. They are more heavily regulated than Bitcoin and trade on mainstream exchanges, potentially opening up the cryptocurrency to a wider range of retail investors.

Analysts at bank Standard Chartered have suggested that the currency could rise to $100,000 by the end of the year if the SEC gives the green light, as a result of significant inflows into funds.

Before the tweet, Bitcoin has been rising strongly in value in anticipation of the SEC’s decision. It has risen 51pc over the past six months, reaching its highest level since November 2021.

However, critics of cryptocurrencies have said that Bitcoin is a poor investment choice. The billionaire investor Warren Buffett has described Bitcoin as a “gambling token” that “doesn’t have any intrinsic value”.

Regulators and prosecutors, meanwhile, have been flexing their muscles against crypto companies, voicing concerns around a lack of controls to prevent money laundering and financial crimes.

Last year, the US imposed a $4.5bn penalty against crypto exchange Binance, its largest-ever penalty, while the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, once valued at $32bn, collapsed into bankruptcy and its chief executive, Sam Bankman-Fried, was found guilty of fraud and money laundering.

Read More:Wall Street watchdog Twitter hacked by Bitcoin scammers