Major US crypto exchanges buckled as bitcoin's price fell on Tuesday

A number of crypto exchanges that serve the U.S. market encountered operational problems Tuesday as cryptocurrency prices fell sharply.

As the price of bitcoin and other cryptos took a drubbing -- coming the same day that El Salvador's bitcoin legal tender law took effect -- exchange Coinbase, Kraken, Gemini and others reported that users had been affected in various ways.

The largest U.S. exchange, Coinbase, featured a "degraded performance" banner across the top of its site: 

Source: Coinbase

Late Tuesday morning, Coinbase's support account Twitter wrote: "We’re aware transactions are currently delayed or cancelled at elevated rates and our apps may be experiencing errors." The account added that a "sudden increase in network traffic and market activity led to a degradation in our services."


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Later, Coinbase Support said that "[t]ransactions are going through normally and service issues have been resolved. We’ve taken steps on our end to maintain stability and keep our services up."

Elsewhere, Kraken reported on its status page that it was seeing web and mobile connectivity issues as well as email delivery. Earlier in the day, Kraken said that "logins, trading and funding operations are unavailable intermittently" amid an effort to resolve connectivity problems. It later said that trading was fully available and that a fix for the connectivity issues had been put in place. At 17:07 UTC, Kraken said that "[s]ome clients are still experiencing issues with ACH online banking purchases." 

Gemini temporarily entered full maintenance mode, according to its status page, in order to resolve "to address an exchange issue that is causing platform performance issues." That issue has since been resolved, according to a subsequent post, and Gemini now says that its exchange is fully operational.

The exchange headaches -- which have become more common during periods of heightened market turbulence -- occurred as the price of bitcoin briefly fell below $43,000. Data collected by The Block Research at the time showed billions of dollars in liquidated long positions as a result of the market decline. 

At press time, the price of bitcoin is trading hands at $47,157.10 on Coinbase

About Author

Kollen Post is a senior reporter at The Block, covering all things policy and geopolitics from Washington, DC. That includes legislation and regulation, securities law and money laundering, cyber warfare, corruption, CBDCs, and blockchain’s role in the developing world. He speaks Russian and Arabic. You can send him leads at [email protected].