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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A number of prominent Twitter accounts, including those of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Elon Musk, appear to have been compromised Wednesday, posting messages tied to a cryptocurrency scam.

The latest: Twitter temporarily disabled all verified accounts from tweeting for several accounts. At about 8:45 pm ET, Twitter said in a statement: "Most accounts should be able to Tweet again. As we continue working on a fix, this functionality may come and go. We're working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible."

Why it matters: Twitter has become a key source of communication, and people generally assume the content posted by an account is from the person who owns the account, increasing the likelihood of a scam being successful.

  • One bitcoin wallet linked to the scam appears to have received the equivalent of over $100,000, according to CNBC.

Details: The accounts of Jeff Bezos, Mike Bloomberg and Kanye West, as well as companies Apple, Bitcoin.org, Coinbase and Ripple, were similarly compromised, in addition to several others.

  • Late Wednesday, Twitter posted: "We detected what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools."
  • A Biden spokesperson said in a statement, "Twitter locked down the account immediately following the breach and removed the related tweet. We remain in touch with Twitter on the matter."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 22, 2020 - Economy & Business

PayPal brings bitcoin to the mainstream

Expand chart
Data: Investing.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

PayPal's decision to allow customers to hold bitcoin and other virtual currencies in its online wallet and shop using cryptocurrencies sent the value of bitcoin soaring on Wednesday.

Why it matters: With 346 million active accounts around the world and 26 million merchants, PayPal could bring cryptocurrencies into mainstream acceptance.

Updated 46 mins ago - Sports

Japan's Naomi Osaka lights Olympic cauldron, kicking off Tokyo Games

Naomi Osaka lights the Olympic cauldron. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

After a year-long delay, the Olympics finally got underway Friday as tennis star Naomi Osaka, who is competing for Japan, lit the cauldron, formally kicking off the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: Friday's opening ceremony looked, like many things over the last year, different than normal — multicolored seats replaced cheering fans, masks were a central part of the athletes' uniforms and a subdued, somber tone marked the occasion.

1 hour ago - World

China sanctions Wilbur Ross, 5 other Americans over Hong Kong warnings

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Chinese government imposed sanctions on Monday against six Americans, including former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in response to an advisory from the Biden administration warning businesses of the increased risks of operating in Hong Kong.

Why it matters: It's the latest example of China responding furiously to U.S. attempts to shed light on human rights abuses in places like Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet, which Chinese officials routinely condemn as "interference" in domestic affairs.