Coinbase Pro halts trading after wiping out BTC-USD market

Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) suffered an unknown issue with its services on Thursday. According to the company, Coinbase Pro began having issues early morning on April 11 and ultimately wiped one of its Bitcoin Core (BTC) markets completely clean. The issue resulted in Coinbase halting trading and cancelling all live and pending orders. The service was suspended for two hours.

The issues centered on the BTC-USD order book, but nothing else. There were rumors that the issue could have been tied to a potential hack, but the fact that only the BTC-USD order book was affected—and no currency has been reported lost—would seem to indicate otherwise.

As usual, social media input on the activity took center stage. In addition to the hacking rumors, one individual suggested that this is standard operating procedure for Coinbase. He said that the company does this when trading volume increases and that it has been conducting the same activity for more than a year.

Coinbase first acknowledged the issue on its website at 6:08 Pacific time Thursday, stating, “We are currently investigating issues with trading on the BTC-USD order book.” It cancelled all live and pending orders six minutes later and reopened the platform in post-only mode about an hour and a half later. At 07:49 Pacific, live trading was re-initiated. Coinbase has yet to state a reason for the problems it experienced.

This past December, Coinbase Pro had an issue with its Ether (ETH) markets, when a sudden crash saw the price drop from $100 to $13, only to recover to $97, all within just a matter of minutes. Coinbase asserted that the platform had been operating normally and that the irregular movement took place during “regular trading activity.” With that being the case, perhaps Coinbase Pro—and Coinbase in general—needs to be subjected to a full computer software and hardware audit.

Coinbase has had difficulty over the past couple of years and routinely keeps silent when it runs into issues. While it isn’t obligated to release details of any technical difficulties experienced, the timing of the issues are always a little suspect. However, given the company’s strength and the lack of ability to legally force responses, the only way to resolve the issue is for the company’s user base to put pressure on the company, like it did when Coinbase acquired Neutrino.

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