Coinbase Halts Litecoin, Ether Trades as Prices Spike

Digital currency startup Coinbase says it has paused trading for litecoin and ethereum.

AccessTimeIconDec 12, 2017 at 5:40 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:15 a.m. UTC

Digital currency startup Coinbase says it paused trading for litecoin and ethereum, a move that came amid a period of heightened price action around both cryptocurrencies.

According to a message posted to its mobile app, "litecoin and ethereum buys and sells are temporarily disabled. We apologize for any inconvenience." The message links to Coinbase's status page, which shows a "major outage" for both litecoin and ethereum. An incident report posted to the page states that the situation had been resolved as of 12:01 p.m. EST.

The issues do not appear to extend entirely to GDAX, the company's digital asset exchange, although its own status page states that there is a "partial outage" for litecoin withdrawals. GDAX's litecoin market is seeing "degraded performance," according to the page, whereas ether trading is occurring as normal.

According to data from CoinMarketCap, GDAX's LTC market has seen more than $1.8 billion in volume in the past 24 hours. At press time, litecoin is trading at a price of roughly $326, whereas ether is trading at about $636.

Coinbase has been dogged by platform issues amid a period of notable price volatility around bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, a state of affairs that has grown more apparent as the startup's trading footprint grows. In a reflection of that, the firm's iOS app took the top spot on Apple's U.S.-based app store in recent days in spite of the problems, according to reports.

As might be expected, today's site problems have sparked a fresh round of criticism across social media, with users taking to Twitter to blast the startup.

The issues also come several days after Coinbase CEO and co-founder Brian Armstrong cautioned about the potential for further outages during periods of heightened trade volume in a post on Medium.

"Despite the sizable and ongoing increases in our technical infrastructure and engineering staff, we wanted to remind customers that access to Coinbase services may become degraded or unavailable during times of significant volatility or volume," he wrote. "This could result in the inability to buy or sell for periods of time."

In anticipation of that, Armstrong wrote that the startup has significantly expanded its customer support team, including phone services for users.

"We have also invested heavily in our infrastructure and have increased the number of transactions we are processing during peak hours by over 40x," he wrote.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Coinbase. 

Turnstile image via Shutterstock

This article has been updated.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.