India is a country that has been battling with crypto regulations for several years now. Following the country’s demonetisation experiment in 2016, Indian residents turned to cryptocurrencies to avoid losing their savings. The tech-rich country has since dived head first into the world of blockchain and crypto, with several major digital currency exchanges popping up since 2017.
In 2018, following weak attempts at regulation, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a blanket ban on the use of cryptocurrencies in the country. Many exchanges went down and thousands of people lost their jobs, signaling a potential end to the Indian crypto industry. Then, two years later, the Supreme Court overturned the ruling and reignited the failing industry.
The celebrations didn’t last long though. Earlier this year in January 2021, the government introduced a bill to ban all private cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and introduce a goverment-backed digital currency.
All this back-and-forth has left the country anxious to get some clarity on the law regarding crypto, with campaigners pushing for leniency. Unfortunately, recent developments aren’t likely to help: yesterday, the official Twitter account of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi was hacked, leaving the message:
“India has officially adopted bitcoin as legal tender.”
It went on to say the government has bought 500 BTC and will distribute it to all residents in the country, with a link to a fraudulent site. The matter was reported to Twitter and quickly rectified but not before a large chunk of Modi’s 73 million followers saw it. The hack appears to have simply been a joke though, because as far as we can tell nobody was scammed out of any money or crypto. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s harmless as it reinforces an inaccurate image of the crypto industry and its supporters as hackers.
The hack is simply the latest in a long string of crypto hoax attacks, including an incident last year that targeted several high profile celebrities and government officials. While hacks like these continue to occur, the crypto industry will continue to struggle for ligitmacy.