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New Delhi (AFP) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter account was hacked on Sunday with a message stating that his country had adopted bitcoin as legal tender and was distributing the cryptocurrency to citizens.
Modi is a prolific tweeter and the world’s most popular incumbent politician on the platform, with over 73 million followers on his main account.
A quickly removed tweet from his main username @narendramodi said that the Indian government had officially purchased 500 bitcoins and was “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 re-established control.
It was the second time that one of Modi’s Twitter accounts had been hacked, after another was taken over last year to send a tweet urging the public to donate to a fake coronavirus relief fund.
Ironically, Sunday’s stunt comes as India prepares to clamp down on a burgeoning cryptocurrency trade with a new law likely to be introduced in parliament this month.
Details of the legislation remain unclear, but the government has signaled a broad ban on private digital currencies.
The local cryptocurrency market has boomed since the Supreme Court of India overturned a previous ban last year, with Bollywood actors and cricket stars spearheading ad campaigns for local exchanges.
Modi himself said last month that cryptocurrencies could “spoil our youth” and the central bank has repeatedly warned that they could raise “serious concerns about macroeconomic and financial stability.”
© 2021 AFP