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Bitcoin soared to over $19,000 on Coinbase -- but the price on other exchanges is totally different

Coinbase
  • Bitcoin soared to more than $US19,500 a coin from $US16,000 on Coinbase’s GDAX exchange in less than three hours on 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 exchanges listing it at drastically different prices.

Bitcoin soared above $US19,500 a coin on Coinbase’s GDAX exchange on Thursday at about 11:30 a.m. ET, three hours after it blew past $US16,000.

The massive tear upward seems to have put pressure on Coinbase’s infrastructure – the exchange said on Twitter that users were experiencing issues logging into their accounts because of record traffic:

Screen Shot 2017 12 07 at 12.05.05 PMCoinbase

Coinbase, the largest platform for buying and selling cryptocurrencies in the US, has experienced several outages as the price of bitcoin has skyrocketed to new highs.

The exchange was down for about an hour on Friday, 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 various exchanges showing significantly different prices – some more than $US1,000 apart. The immaturity of the bitcoin markets has often created price discrepancies, which would be unheard of elsewhere on Wall Street.

At 12:48 p.m., for instance, bitcoin was trading at $US19,141 a coin on Bithumb, an exchange in South Korea. At the same time, it was trading at $US14,573 on Bitfinex, based in Taiwan.

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

Twenty-four-hour trading volumes reached a record high above $US28 billion on Thursday, according to CoinMarketCap, a cryptocurrency data site. To put that in context, $US50 billion worth of securities trade on the NYSE during an average trading session.

Screen Shot 2017 12 07 at 12.21.20 PMCoinMarketCap

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