Bitcoin Price Flash Crash on Binance.US Attributed to Trader Algorithm Bug

It all happened in a blip, and an exchange official says the institutional trading customer has since fixed the issue.

Oct 21, 2021 at 6:26 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 21, 2021 at 6:38 p.m. UTC

Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

Bitcoin’s price briefly crashed 87% and then recovered within the span of a single minute early Thursday on Binance.US, in a fleeting but very real flash crash that the cryptocurrency exchange attributed to a “bug” in an institutional customer’s trading algorithm.

At 11:34 UTC (7:34 a.m. ET), the price fell from around $65,760 to as low as $8,200, then quickly bounced back up to almost exactly where it was before.

“One of our institutional traders indicated to us that they had a bug in their trading algorithm, which appears to have caused the sell-off that was reported this morning,” a Binance.US spokesperson told CoinDesk.

“We are continuing to look into the event but understand from the trader that they have now fixed their bug and that the issue appears to have been resolved,” the spokesperson said, declined to comment on further details about the crash.

On other cryptocurrency exchanges, bitcoin’s price dropped around the same time, but by nowhere near as much. On Bitstamp, for example, the price fell about 2.3% at 11:34 UTC but never got below $63,600.

Omkar Godbole contributed reporting.

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Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

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