No, the SEC has not (yet) approved bitcoin ETFs

1/9/2024, 6:48 p.m.
Crypto advocates gunning for approval for bitcoin ETFs by the Securities and Exchange Commission got a false alarm on Tuesday …
SEC Chair Gary Gensler said on X the regulator's account had been hacked and an "unauthorized tweet" about bitcoin was posted. Mandatory Credit: Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters

Originally Published: 09 JAN 24 16:57 ET

Updated: 09 JAN 24 18:45 ET

By Jeanne Sahadi, CNN

New York (CNN) — Crypto advocates gunning for approval for bitcoin ETFs by the Securities and Exchange Commission got a false alarm on Tuesday afternoon. The SEC’s X account posted a message saying the regulator had approved them, but SEC Chair Gary Gensler quickly published a message on his own X feed indicating the agency’s account had been hacked.

“The @SECGov twitter account was compromised, and an unauthorized tweet was posted. The SEC has not approved the listing and trading of spot bitcoin exchange-traded products.”

The SEC soon after posted a similar message on its account. Later, a spokesperson for the regulatory agency sent out the following statement: “The SEC has 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 pm ET. 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.”

Meanwhile, X did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The crypto community has been eagerly awaiting (and largely expecting) the SEC to finally approve the launch of bitcoin ETFs, which would make bitcoin investing more accessible to Main Street investors, without requiring them to own the digital asset directly. More than a dozen investment companies — including household names like Fidelity, BlackRock, Invesco and Franklin Templeton — have applied to offer spot bitcoin exchange-traded products for retail investors.

The price of bitcoin, notoriously volatile, didn’t seem to go too wild in response to the false alarm. At 5:15 pm on Tuesday evening it was trading around $45,660 after very briefly spiking to nearly $48,000 around 4:15 pm, according to data from While the price has risen considerably in the past year, it’s still far below its all-time high of more than $68,000 hit in 2021.

Some had a good sense of humor about the false messaging, with one person posting “spot bitcoin ETFs were approved for 0.07 scarmuccis [sic]” - referring, of course, to the extremely short tenure of White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, who served for less than a week in the Trump administration.