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Coinbase Error? Bitcoin Breaks $60,000 But Users See Zero Balances

Published February 29, 2024 8:57 AM
James Morales
Published February 29, 2024 8:57 AM
By James Morales
Verified by Peter Henn

Key Takeaways

  • The price of Bitcoin broke through $60,000 on Wednesday afternoon.
  • Trading activity has surged in recent days amid a red-hot crypto market.
  • Facing a more than tenfold increase in traffic to the platform, Coinbase broke under the pressure, with some users seeing their balance wrongly displayed as zero.

With two days of bullish momentum behind it, Bitcoin smashed through $60,000 on February 28 and has kept rising since. With interest in the cryptocurrency reaching a fever pitch, trading volume has surged 140% in the past 24 hours, placing a heavy strain on the world’s major exchanges.

As users rushed to the platform, Coinbase went down on Wednesday evening, unable to keep up with the increased activity. Service has since resumed, but traders remain weary.

Coinbase Buckles Under the Pressure of Increased Trading

On Wednesday afternoon, some Coinbase users reported that their accounts showed zero balance and they were unable to buy or sell crypto. In a statement  acknowledging the issue, the firm said it was investigating and reassured users that their assets were safe.

Shortly after Coinbase first addressed the crash, CEO Brian Armstrong published a Tweet blaming a surge in traffic for the incident.

He later announced  “apps are recovering,” going on to explain that Coinbase had experienced more than a 10-fold surge in traffic and had not been able to scale server provisioning fast enough to keep up.

He said:“We had modeled a ~10x surge in traffic and load-tested it. This exceeded that number.

It’s expensive to keep services over-provisioned, but we’ll need to keep working on auto-scaling solutions and killing any remaining bottlenecks.”

Users Frustrated at Missed Opportunity

Approximately 12 hours after first acknowledging the error, Coinbase shared that “all customer account balance display issues have been restored.” But the news came too late for users who missed out on the evening’s significant trading opportunity.

Comments on a Coinbase Support Tweet addressing the crash reveal a sense of users’ frustration. 

One customer said: “Terrible time, your ‘most trusted app’ goes down when it’s time to sell.”

Another lamented that “whenever crypto pumps higher there’s an issue with Coinbase like they are preventing you from taking profits”.

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