Coinbase warns that its platform could crash again in the future

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  • Coinbase, the cryptocurrency trading platform, experienced an outage on Thursday as bitcoin soared by $US3,000 in under three hours on its platform.
  • The company’s CEO Brian Armstrong said Friday the firm expects more outages during periods of high-volumes.

Coinbase is taking an “honesty is the best policy” approach.

The company’s CEO Brian Armstrong warned users of the cryptocurrency trading platform that future outages on its app and mobile site might occur during periods of high trading volume.

“We wanted to remind customers that access to Coinbase services may become degraded or unavailable during times of significant volatility or volume,” Armstrong wrote in a Medium post Friday. “This could result in the inability to buy or sell for periods of time.”

The price of bitcoin soared by $US3,000 on its GDAX exchange platform Thursday to $US19,500 in under three hours during a wild trading session. Customers experienced downgraded service during this period and couldn’t log into their accounts. This isn’t the first time Coinbase has experienced issues during periods of high volume. When bitcoin soared over $US11,000 per coin in November, Coinbase experienced a “partial system outage,” during which time many users found themselves locked out of their accounts.

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. As such, they are building out their infrastructure and hiring more developers. Here’s Armstrong on Coinbase’s expansion:

“Over the course of this year we have invested significant resources to increase trading capacity on our platform and maintain availability of our service. We have increased the size of our support team by 640% and launched phone support in September. We have also invested heavily in our infrastructure and have increased the number of transactions we are processing during peak hours by over 40x.”

Despite issues, Coinbase shot up to the top spot on Apple’s App Store’s most-downloaded free app chart on Thursday. But like Bitcoin’s price, the App Store charts can be volatile, and it dropped to the no. 2 spot on Friday.

As for bitcoin, it was trading down at $US14,944 early Friday afternoon.

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