January 9, 2024

False Alarm: SEC Sets Record Straight on Spot Bitcoin ETF Approval

Gary Gensler swiftly addressed a misleading post on the SEC's X account, which falsely claimed the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs, confirming that no such approval had been granted.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has not yet officially approved the listing and trading of spot bitcoin exchange-traded products. This clarification follows a misleading post on the SEC's X account (formerly Twitter) on January 9, falsely announcing the approval of spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds.

Approximately 15 minutes after the initial post, SEC Chair Gary Gensler clarified that the commission had "not approved the listing and trading of spot bitcoin exchange-traded products". Prior to Gensler's statement, various news outlets had reported on the false information from the SEC.

The unauthorized post, considered an "unauthorized tweet", claimed that the SEC had granted approval for bitcoin ETFs to be listed on U.S. exchanges, featuring a fabricated quote and photo attributed to the SEC chair. The SEC promptly removed the initial post, which had already garnered millions of views.

In an official statement, the SEC clarified:

"The SEC’s @SECGov X/Twitter account has been compromised. The unauthorized tweet regarding bitcoin ETFs was not made by the SEC or its staff."

While the social media post turned out to be false, the possibility remains that the SEC might still approve a spot bitcoin ETF. Neither Gensler nor the SEC's post indicated any specific plans to approve or deny the investment vehicle. The market had anticipated a decision on a spot bitcoin ETF from ARK Invest and 21Shares by January 10, with the potential for simultaneous approvals for other asset managers.

Before Gensler's clarification regarding the compromised SEC X account, there were reactions from the crypto community and the market. The price of BTC experienced fluctuations, surging from $46,700 to nearly $48,000 before retracing to $44,700.

Some individuals on social media suggested that the information in the retracted SEC post might have been accurate but was released prematurely. Notably, the SEC's X account displayed unusual activity by liking two replies to the false post from random users.

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