NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter account was hacked on Sunday with a message declaring his country had adopted bitcoin as legal tender and was distributing the cryptocurrency to citizens.

Modi is a prolific tweeter and is the world’s most popular incumbent politician on the platform, with more than 73 million followers on his main account.

A swiftly deleted tweet from his main @narendramodi handle said the Indian government had officially bought 500 bitcoin and was “and distributing them to all residents of the country”, along with a scam link.

His office tweeted that the account was “very briefly compromised” and that Twitter had since restored control.

It was the second time one of Modi’s Twitter accounts was hacked, after another was taken over last year to send out a tweet urging the public to donate to a fake coronavirus relief fund.

Sunday’s hack ironically comes as India prepares to clamp down on a flourishing cryptocurrency trade with a new law likely to be introduced in parliament this month.

Details of the legislation remain unclear but the government has flagged a broad ban on private digital currencies.

The local crypto market has boomed since the Indian Supreme Court overturned a previous ban last year, with Bollywood actors and cricket stars fronting ad campaigns for local exchanges.

Modi himself said last month that cryptocurrencies could “spoil our youth” and the central bank has repeatedly warned they could pose “serious concerns on macroeconomic and financial stability”.

Published in Dawn, December 13th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Price bombs
Updated 18 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

It just wants to take the easy route and enjoy the ride for however long it is in power.
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
Updated 19 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

The staggering rejection rates underscore systemic biases in the largely non-transparent visa approval process.
After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...