Bitcoin Cash goes live on Coinbase, experiences temporary irregular outages

The sharp drop earlier today it seems was caused by news that Coinbase - one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges - made a decision to open up its doors to bitcoin cash trading.

The co-founder of Coinbase, one of the most popular cryptocurrency trading platforms, says the company is investigating claims that its staff were involved with insider trading. The platform suspended trading of Bitcoin Cash after its value soared from $3,000 a coin to more than $8,500 a coin within an hour.

Abbreviated as BCH, the currency showed Cash prices at roughly $8,500, or almost three times higher than the value it commands on other exchanges (Coinmarketcap has it at $3,381 at the time of writing).

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Although Bitcoin remains highly volatile, investors may panic less during short-term price swings if the liquidity of the cryptocurrency improves.

Compounding the day of bad news in the crypto world, a South Korean exchange on Tuesday said it was shutting down and filing for bankruptcy after being hacked for the second time this year, highlighting concerns about security as trade in bitcoin and other virtual currencies boom.

This week's launch of Bitcoin futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has done little to calm the recent volatility in the price of BTC with prices in the cash market trading in a $4,000 range in the last three days. "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." wrote Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong.

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Bitcoin Cash was created on 1 August when Hong Kong-based digital currency exchange Bitfinex said a minority of bitcoin miners would be "forking" to create a new version of bitcoin to make trading faster and easier.

As of this morning, sends and receives of Bitcoin Cash are available. The price of Bitcoin is still down by 10% trading around $16,500.

According to media reports, Coinbase fears its own workers might have exploited the exchange's foray into the cryptocurrency.

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However, after going live for only four minutes (via its GDAX exchange), Coinbase halted trading of bitcoin cash. It was recently at $17,416, about 11 percent off its record high on Monday, but still up about 18-fold this year.

  • Kelly Blake