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Spot Bitcoin ETF Approval: A Rollercoaster 48 Hours and Its Global Regulatory Implications

Follow-up to the Previous Article: “Understanding Spot Bitcoin ETF and Its Potential”

In a historic move, Gary Gensler, the Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has officially confirmed the approval and impending listing of Spot Bitcoin ETFs. This development marks the debut of the first Spot Bitcoin ETF in the U.S., shaping up to be one of the most anticipated and significant regulatory decisions in January 2024. The following chronicle outlines the dramatic 48 hours leading to the SEC’s approval, shedding light on cybersecurity lessons and global regulatory implications.
Rollercoaster 48 Hours: A Chronicle of Events Leading to Approval

Over the past 48 hours, the journey towards the SEC’s official approval of Spot Bitcoin ETFs has been nothing short of dramatic. On January 9, 2024 (US time), the SEC posted a now-deleted tweet on X (formerly Twitter), announcing the approval of #Bitcoin ETFs for listing on all registered national securities exchanges. However, the excitement was short-lived as the SEC swiftly deleted the tweet, attributing the action to a compromise of their official X account. Both the SEC and Gary Gensler later clarified in a subsequent tweet that the @SECGov X account had been compromised, emphasizing that no approval had been granted for spot bitcoin exchange-traded products.

Further investigation by X revealed that the compromise was not due to any breach of X’s systems but rather a case of an unidentified individual gaining control over a phone number associated with the @SECGov account through a third party. Notably, the compromised account lacked two-factor authentication at the time.

Finally, a few hours ago, the SEC officially published Record No. 34-99306 on its website, formally approving Spot Bitcoin ETFs, in which Gary Gensler also concurrently released an official statement, marking the historic and authorized approval of the Spot Bitcoin ETFs.
Key Takeaways and Global Regulatory Implications

The recent events surrounding the approval of Spot Bitcoin ETFs offer several crucial insights with potential global regulatory impacts.

1. Emphasis on Cybersecurity: The foremost lesson from this rollercoaster ride is the critical importance of cybersecurity. Regardless of whether the compromise originated internally or from an external third party, this incident underscores the paramount need for robust cybersecurity measures. In the digital age, any compromise can lead to irreparable damage to a company, the market, and, significantly, the organization’s reputation. It serves as a stark reminder that investing in cybersecurity is not just prudent but imperative in safeguarding against unforeseen challenges.
2. Verification of Official Announcements: The second takeaway revolves around the necessity to verify the source of official announcements diligently. The unauthorized tweet from the SEC’s compromised account highlights the vulnerability of relying solely on social media for crucial information. Legal due diligence demands a thorough examination of official legal sources, including but not limited to websites and supporting materials. Organizations and individuals alike should exercise caution, and when in doubt, consult legal advisors to verify the authenticity of information disseminated through unofficial channels.
3. Global Regulatory Shift: With the official approval of Spot Bitcoin ETFs by the SEC, a potential paradigm shift in the global regulatory landscape for digital assets is imminent. This positive development suggests that other countries may follow suit in embracing similar regulatory approaches to cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and NFTs.

In conclusion, the approval of Spot Bitcoin ETFs by the US SEC has not only marked a significant milestone for cryptocurrency enthusiasts but has also triggered a cascade of lessons and considerations for organizations, regulators, and investors alike in navigating the dynamic intersection of finance and technology on a global scale. Organizations are advised to stay vigilant, collaborate with legal advisors, and actively engage with regulators as local frameworks adapt to the evolving global regulatory landscape.

For comprehensive guidance and legal insights regarding the dynamic landscape of cryptocurrency and/or Fintech, our team of experts is ready to assist you. Feel free to reach out to us for further assistance and a tailored approach to navigating the complexities of this decentralized future. We look forward to being your trusted partner on this transformative journey.

This article is intended to be informative and not intended to be nor should be relied upon as a substitute for legal or any other professional advice.

About the authors

Ong Johnson
Head of Technology Practice Group
Transactions and Dispute Resolution, Technology,
Media & Telecommunications, Intellectual Property,
Fintech, Privacy and Cybersecurity

Lo Khai Yi
Co-Head of Technology Practice Group
Technology, Media & Telecommunications, Intellectual
Property, Corporate/M&A, Projects and Infrastructure,
Privacy and Cybersecurity
Halim Hong & Quek

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