Coinbase investigates possible inside trading of bitcoin cash

Robyn Valdez
December 22, 2017

The price of Bitcoin Cash briefly reached more than $8,500 on Coinbase's own exchange, significantly more than the $3,500 it was trading at on other indexes. Until yesterday, Coinbase only participated in three markets - Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Bitcoin Cash is now the third-largest cryptocurrency on the market, boasting a total market capitalisation of $57.5 billion.

Reacting to the suspicion of fishiness, Armstrong said on the company blog: "If we find evidence of any employee or contractor violating our policies - directly or indirectly - I will not hesitate to terminate the employee immediately and take appropriate legal action".

Armstrong also emphasised that he had told Coinbase employees through several channels that they were prohibited from trading bitcoin cash in the weeks leading up to its launch on GDAX.

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Coinbase did allow some trades for bitcoin cash on Tuesday. It may take some time until traffic settles down and Bitcoin Cash is readily available for trading.

At the same time, Bitcoin prices fell almost 15 percent to as low as $15,000 on Tuesday before the announcement. "Bitcoin has faced a lot of scaling issues with the block sizes and so on, so I think bitcoin cash has solved a lot of these issues and is a strong, legitimate contender to be more widely used".

The trades would have occurred on other exchanges, with no way for CoinBase to tell who made those purchases. In the few minutes that trading was accessible, the price shot as high as $9,500, a level that represented a large premium over other exchanges. In the hours before Coinbase added Bitcoin Cash to its exchange, the price of the cryptocurrency had already begun to rise.

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Bitcoin Cash resulted in a split from Bitcoin in August after users had complained that Bitcoin's blockchain was outdated and needed a revamp.

And while GDAX appears to be out of the woods (for now) on the bitcoin cash side, a new update to the parent company's status page indicates that customers of the flagship service could experience delays on their bank wires. Attempts to contact the creators of bitcoin cash were unsuccessful.

Some experts claim "FOMO" or the "Fear of Missing Out" could be one of the biggest reasons for investors to buy Bitcoin Cash at a price as high as $8500.

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