Crypto exchange Coinbase hit by tech trouble as bitcoin breaks US$20,000 for first time

LONDON: Major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase said on Wednesday its retail and professional-focused platforms were hit by connection problems and network congestion, as bitcoin smashed through US$20,000 to its highest level ever.

California-based Coinbase said on its website at 15:41 GMT it had “implemented a fix” to address “congestion issues” on its retail platform and was monitoring the situation.

Network congestion was also delaying the sending of ethereum – the second biggest cryptocurrency after bitcoin, and related tokens, it said. Its Coinbase Pro platform was also hit by the network congestion problems, it said.

Bitcoin earlier soared to US$20,800, its highest ever, amid increased institutional and corporate interest. It has gained more than 170per cent this year as larger investors seek it for its purported resistance to inflation.

Ethereum, which often moves in tandem with bitcoin, also jumped more than 6per cent.

Last month Coinbase was hit by tech problems during a sharp correction for bitcoin, with users reporting difficulty trading.

(Reporting by Tom Wilson, Editing by Iain Withers)