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The Twitter account of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a target of a hacker attack on Sunday. Hackers gained access to the history and posted a tweet about Bitcoin:
India has officially adopted bitcoin as legal tender. The government has officially bought 500 BTC and is distributing them to all residents of the country
The tweet came amid a debate on crypto regulation in India. Just a few months ago, it seemed that India was about to ban crypto. However, the attack did not seem to do with crypto advocacy. The motivations don’t seem to be that of raising awareness about Bitcoin.
Instead, reports showed that the possible motivation was to scam 73 million account followers. It’s not clear, however, how the scam worked, as the link was up only very briefly.
Just after the attack, officials posted a reaction. They revealed that they contacted Twitter about the matter, taking the tweet down.
The Twitter handle of PM Narendra Modi was very briefly compromised. The matter was escalated to Twitter and the account has been immediately secured. In the brief period that the account was compromised, any Tweet shared must be ignored.
This is not the first online attack on Narendra Modi. Hackers also compromised his account in September of 2020 with a scam link. Back then, hackers’ tweets urged followers to donate to India’s National Relief Fund. But, of course, the donation link was fraudulent.
At the same time, hackers targeted many other prominent personalities. For example, they managed to compromise the accounts of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Elon Musk. The US justice department charged a 22-year-old and two teenagers for these hacks.
The heated topic of Indian crypto
Not even a month ago, India introduced a controversial crypto regulation bill. The proposed legislation would make way for India’s digital currency. But, significantly, it would also make all “private” cryptos illegal.
The move sent shockwaves through the Indian crypto industry. Panic selling caused a crash in local prices of crypto. For example, Bitcoin traded 14.8% on the WazirX exchange compared to international prices. Ethereum and Tether traded down 15% and 18%, respectively.
However, recent news shows that the Indian authorities might have reconsidered their harsh stance on crypto. For example, the former Indian Finance Minister called a crypto ban “a mistake.”
On the other hand, the sitting Finance Minister said that the government would draft a new bill. At the time, presumably, be less harsh on crypto. Unfortunately, very few details about the new account were public at the time.
However, new reports show that the government maintained a strict stance on crypto. The new bill would ban the use of crypto for payment. It would also impose harsh punishments, including heavy fines and jail. The penalties could go up to US$2.65 million and jail time up to 1.5 years.
Following China’s Footsteps?
India’s new crypto regulation could be India following in China’s footsteps. China has brought the hammer down on crypto trading, mining and exchanges. Finally, it outlawed all crypto transactions. The crackdown came due to reducing energy consumption and promoting China’s official digital currency.
The Digital Yuan went live in October. At that time, the government shared 10 million yuan with the people of Shenzhen. Out of the 2 million people that applied, 50,000 received 200 yuan. That sum corresponds to about $30. Currently, they can spend that money in 3,389 stores.