Bitcoin sees brief frenzy after hacker falsely claims on SEC’s X account that ETFs won approval

NEW YORK – Bitcoin dropped to around US$45,000 before recovering losses late on Jan 9 after a debunked post on the X social-media site falsely claimed that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had approved the issuance of ETFs holding the cryptocurrency.

The agency said shortly afterward that it had not yet granted approval of spot-Bitcoin exchange-traded funds, and that the post that appeared on the regulator’s official X account was untrue. Market participants were caught off guard by the false statement, with the SEC widely expected by analysts to announce a decision on Jan 10.

“That was not on my bingo card for today,” said Ophelia Snyder, co-founder and president of 21Shares, which is seeking to offer a Bitcoin ETF with ARK Investments. “I don’t think it will affect the process or what comes next. There’s no way after 10 years of work this could wrap up without any last minute drama.”

The ARK 21 Shares application must be addressed by the SEC by the end of Jan 10. Analysts expect the agency to approve several applications at that time, following a slew of last-minute adjustments to official offering statements this week.

The largest cryptocurrency recently traded at around US$45,886. It had surged to as a 21-month high more than US$47,000 on Tuesday as optimism grew that approval of the the long-sought ETFs was imminent.

“The entire spot Bitcoin ETF saga has been highly unusual from the beginning and so the tweet made sense in that light,” said Nate Geraci, president of The ETF Store, an advisory firm. “Just add this to the long list of surprising plot twists and turns in the 10-plus year effort to bring a spot Bitcoin ETF to market.” BLOOMBERG

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