Coinbase Crashed Again—Why Does It Happen So Often During Bitcoin Runs? – Decrypt

Continuing a trend established years ago, top U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase disclosed Tuesday that “some users may be experiencing errors when transacting” as the price of Bitcoin peaked and collapsed. The status update—posted at around 3pm EST—came four minutes after the company reported its previous slate of “intermittent transaction failures” as resolved.

These latest technical troubles come hours after the price of Bitcoin surged to a new all-time high—before collapsing after the milestone triggered liquidations and sell-offs. The industry-wide frenzy and related headlines draws heavy interest from retail investors using services like Coinbase.

“Coinbase is on a mission to increase economic freedom for more than 1 billion people,” a Coinbase spokesperson told Decrypt in response to an inquiry about their system stability. “We are encouraged by the excitement in the market and are continuing to double down the capacity and resilience of our systems.”

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In the frenzied run-up to the new record price, Coinbase worked overnight on availability issues, with a previous status note posted fifteen hours earlier.

“Some users may experience intermittent errors in trading, deposits, and withdrawals across Coinbase.com,” the company disclosed late Monday. “If you encounter a failure, we recommend that you retry your transaction.”

This latest outage was tracked by third-party monitoring service Downdetector, where user reports of a Coinbase outage spiked at around the same time as Coinbase’s status update.

Coinbase Outage
Coinbase Outage Reports via Downdetector. Image: Downdetector

Crypto Twitter had lots of thoughts, many noting a “flash crash” in the price of Bitcoin localized to the platform. The Coinbase price chart for BTC show an all-time high of $69,324 dropped to as low as $59,224 in five hours—a decline of over 6% and resetting the value of the top cryptocurrency to where it stood on Feb. 27.

Bitcoin Price on Coinbase
Image: Coinbase

The Coinbase exchange has regularly struggled when there’s a Bitcoin rally, as industry-wide interest in the top cryptocurrency peaks. So regular is this development that many consider Coinbase crashes to be one of the signs of an official Bitcoin bull run.

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While it’s reasonable to assume that crypto-related services and infrastructure are strained during Bitcoin bull runs, widespread system outages like those reported by Coinbase are uncommon. For example, status pages for competitive exchanges like Kraken and Binance do report incidents that coincide with the current crypto storm, they are limited to specific networks or crypto pairings.

A note of “partial withdrawal suspended” on Binance for Bitcoin and Ethereum, for example, applies only to the BNB Beacon Chain (BEP2), which Binance announced would be discontinued in February.

Coinbase has an estimated 110 million monthly active users, whereas Binance is slightly larger, with an estimated 128 million monthly active users. Kraken serves an estimated 9 million monthly active users.

The price of Coinbase stock (NASDAQ:COIN) has seen a similar rise-and-fall trajectory, climbing 80 percent over the past month from $119 to $229, but falling 6% over the past 24 hours from from $238 to $216 at time of writing.

This is a developing story and will be updated as new information becomes available.

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