It’s been about two weeks in the crypto world with up to $ 1 trillion in market value. Wednesday could be the worst as the world’s two largest digital asset exchanges, Binance and Coinbase Global Inc., suffered service outages and Bitcoin has declined the most since 2013.
Exchanges are central components of the world of digital assets. However, they often decline when traffic gets too high on blockchain networks, which calls into question their willingness to serve a rapidly growing market. At the height of the last bull market in 2017, both Coinbase and Binance often locked users out of their accounts due to internal issues. Blockchain and crypto believers like to believe that they are changing the world, but the backbone of the industry is clearly not ready for prime time.
Many crypto traders use borrowed money to increase their returns, which leaves them vulnerable to their positions being automatically sold when prices fall. In the past 24 hours, more than 775,000 merchants have closed their accounts, equivalent to $ 8.6 billion worth of crypto, according to Bybt.com data.
“Coinbase is always going down,” said Jon West, former chief trader at Omega One, a digital asset broker who now works for blockchain firm RChain. Although it was disappointing to break the two largest exchanges, West said it was the best performance they have ever done looking back on 2018 or 2019.
“It should be illegal how bad they were,” he said in the past. An email to Coinbase for a comment was not returned immediately.
The problems started on Wednesday when Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, temporarily disabled withdrawals from Ethereum due to network congestion. Then Coinbase said it was investigating “intermittent downtime” on its platform.
Brian Brooks, CEO of Binance.US, sits down with Romaine Bostick of Bloomberg TV at the Bloomberg Businessweek virtual event to discuss the evolving role of crypto.
Binance plans to fix its problems in the coming months, said Brian Brooks, CEO of Binance US, in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
“We have a lot of lagging issues with customer support,” he said. “I know it’s a big deal, I got that feedback,” said Brooks. “We’re all over it and you will be seeing a different customer experience shortly.”
The two companies suffer disruption as cryptocurrencies fall. Bitcoin fell 31% to around $ 30,000. This wiped out more than $ 500 billion from the token’s highest market value before the token partially recovered from its lows.
Later in the day, Coinbase said it had solved its problem. At around 3 p.m. New York time, Bitcoin fell 11% to $ 38,400 while Ether was down 23% to $ 2,618.
It’s a notable turnaround for the world’s two largest cryptocurrencies. Earlier this month, Bitcoin rose up to 500% over the past 12 months, while Ethereum gained a staggering 1,500%.
“It’s definitely a bad experience for people used to their traditional brokerage accounts,” said Aubrey Strobel, director of communications at Lolli, a bitcoin bonus company. Newbies are entering the crypto market through centralized markets like Binance and Coinbase, she said.
“It feels like it should be better, especially at Coinbase, ”she said. “It’s kind of funny, it’s a forced hoding through these exchanges because you can’t sell,” said Strobel, using the crypto slang “Hodl,” which started on a message board as a drunken misspelling for hold.
The fact remains that one major point that has gotten so many people into the crypto industry has plagued the exchanges – they are a key point of failure that often plummets when the markets become choppy. This was a major reason Bitcoin and its subsequent cryptocurrencies were adopted – they have no central point of failure as the blockchains on which they are built are spread across thousands of computers spread around the world.
The exchange is also less transparent when it comes to explaining to users what goes on behind the scenes when something goes wrong. When asked what exactly was going on at Coinbase and Binance, West said, “I have no idea.” And this is the problem.
“This is the story of centralized exchanges,” West said. A new type of market known as decentralized exchanges has become popular over the past year in part because they are not operated by a company like Coinbase or Binance. Instead, they compare buyers and sellers using smart contracts – computer programs – in a peer-to-peer system.
West said he was thinking about that last exchange failure would only lead to a stronger introduction of the decentralized exchange.
“That’s why people are so into decentralized exchange,” he said. “That can’t happen. Only the network is clogged. “
He also written down that brokers and markets like the New York Stock Exchange have had very public and embarrassing failures. Earlier this year, Robinhood suffered a devastating loss of confidence when it banned its users from their GameStop positions.
“TD Ameritrade and Schwab keep falling when markets are volatile,” West said.
Back in the crypto world, West said he was doing his best to manage his investments.
“Today is a day of survival,” he said.
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