Coinbase to offer Bitcoin cash, will probe early price move

22 December, 2017, 00:55 | Author: Celia Hoffman
  • Bitcoin cash surge

Coinbase Inc, one of the most popular United States cryptocurrency exchanges, is adding the Bitcoin splitoff known as Bitcoin cash to its offerings, giving momentum to a rival of the most traded digital unit.

"Given price increase in the hours leading up the announcement, we will be conducting an investigation into this matter".

Coinbase is suspending trading of Bitcoin Cash due to an insider trading probe. But to users' chagrin, Coinbase rejected Bitcoin Cash, with the company's director of communications writing in a Medium post that "it is hard to predict how long the alternative version of bitcoin will survive".

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). Immediately after the launch, the price of the cryptocurrency rose to all-time highs of around $3,600 on most major exchanges. Bitcoin traded more than 6.5 percent lower, near $16,337, the site showed.

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The suspicion, as TechCrunchnoted, was that Coinbase employees or others who knew the change was coming could have stocked up on Bitcoin Cash through other exchanges before the company publically announced its addition to the platform. And Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong released a statement outlining his company's internal trading policies and saying that an investigation had been launched to find out if any employees had improperly profited from the news that they'd been privy to a month ahead of the public.

Bitcoin Cash is the result of a fork from the main Bitcoin that occurred back in August. This announcement caused sharp market moves and the company is now investigating the price spikes for any evidence if employees violated the company's trading policies. 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.

"We have been monitoring the Bitcoin cash network over the last few months and have made a decision to enable full support including the ability to buy, sell, send and receive", Coinbase said in its announcement via a blog post. Coinbase said trading will resume later today. Bitcoin Cash is now the third largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, sitting at more than $29 billion compared to bitcoin's more than $294 billion. Coinbase's Bitcoin Cash announcement on Tuesday seemed to steal the wind behind other cryptocurrencies, as values for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin dropped at around the same time.

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