Indian PM's Twitter Account Hacked, Sharing Message That Country Adopts Bitcoin as Legal Tender

© REUTERS / EDGAR SUA representation of the virtual cryptocurrency Bitcoin is seen in this picture illustration taken October 19, 2021.
A representation of the virtual cryptocurrency Bitcoin is seen in this picture illustration taken October 19, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.12.2021
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been apprehensive about the booming cryptocurrency market in the South Asian nation and has urged global leaders to adopt a joint strategy to regulate its growth. A new bill that is set to be introduced in the Indian Parliament calls for regulating cryptocurrencies and having a national digital currency.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Twitter account was "briefly compromised" on Sunday before it was restored once the matter was escalated to the microblogging site, a statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said.
A social media post shared by the PM's account while it was breached declared that "India has officially adopted Bitcoin as [its] legal tender".
"The government has bought 500 BTC (Bitcoins) and is distributing them to all residents of the country", said the social media post, which has now been deleted.
The screenshot of the now deleted Twitter post has since been shared widely on Indian social media, with many Indian users expressing concern about the cybersecurity of the prime minister's account.
The high-profile cyber breach comes at a time when the South Asian nation is contemplating a law to regulate its booming cryptocurrency market. India's federal Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated in the Indian Parliament on 30 November that the government would table the new bill in the house once it is sanctioned by the cabinet.
This April 3, 2013, file photo shows bitcoin tokens in Sandy, Utah. Unidentified hackers broke into the Twitter accounts of technology moguls, politicians, celebrities and major companies Wednesday, July 15, 2020, in an apparent Bitcoin scam - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.11.2021
Indian Parliament to Mull Bill Proposing National Digital Currency
The proposed "Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021" "seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India".
"However, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses", as per an official document.
Sitharaman also stated that there was no proposal whatsoever to recognise Bitcoin as a currency.
In order to become a law, a bill has to pass both houses of India's bicameral parliament and be signed by the president.
While Sitharaman stated in parliament that the government has no official data on citizens involved in cryptocurrency trading, unofficial estimates suggest that nearly 100 million Indians could be involved in the trade, with a market worth of around $80 billion.
In spite of its growing popularity, Indian regulators have been expressing concerns about cryptocurrency trading. Central Bank Governor Shaktikanta Das said last month that digital currencies posed a "serious concern" for the macroeconomic and financial stability of the country.
On several occasions, the Indian PM has also called for "global action" to regulate digital currencies.

"We must also jointly shape global norms for emerging technologies like social media and cryptocurrencies, so that they are used to empower democracy, not to undermine it", PM Modi said in a statement at the "Summit For Democracy" hosted by US President Joe Biden on 9 and 10 December.

"It is important that all democratic nations work together on cryptocurrency and ensure it does not end up in the wrong hands, which can spoil our youth", Modi stated while virtually addressing the "Sydney Dialogue" last month.
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