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Finance: Coinbase crashed as bitcoin soared $3,000 — but other exchanges have totally different prices

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Coinbase said users were experiencing log in issues because of record-high traffic as the price surged.

  • Bitcoin soared from $16,000 a coin on Coinbase's GDAX exchange to more than $19,500 in less than three hours Thursday.
  • Coinbase said its site was down for some users because of record-high traffic.
  • The price of bitcoin was all over the place on Thursday, with numerous exchange listing it at drastically different prices.

Bitcoin soared above $19,500 a coin on Coinbase's GDAX exchange around 11:30 a.m. ET Thursday, just three hours after it blew past $16,000 on the exchange.

The massive tear upwards seems to have put pressure on Coinbase's infrastructure, with the exchange saying on Twitter that users were experiencing issues logging into their accounts because of record traffic.

Here's the tweet:

The company, which is the largest platform for buying and selling cryptocurrencies in the US, has experienced a number of outages as the price of bitcoin has skyrocketed to new highs. The cryptocurrency exchange was down last Friday for about an hour, two days after a major system outage kept many users from accessing their bitcoin wallets.

The price of bitcoin on Thursday was all over the place, with different exchanges printing significantly different prices. The immaturity of the bitcoin markets has often created price discrepancies, which would be unheard of elsewhere on Wall Street. But on Thursday some exchanges were more than $1,000 apart.

At 12:48 p.m. ET, for instance, bitcoin was trading at $19,141 per coin on Bithumb, an Asian exchange. At the same time, it was trading at $14,573 on Bitfinex.

Cryptocurrency exchanges, which don't have the industrial infrastructure of traditional exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq, are under pressure to handle record trading volumes.

24-hour trading volumes reached a record high above $28 billion on Thursday, according to crypto data site CoinMarketCap. To put that in context, that is more than half of the $50 billion worth of securities that trade on the New York Stock Exchange during an average trading session.


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