Coinbase halts transactions amid probe into possible Bitcoin Cash insider trading

The Insane Hour After Coinbase Added Bitcoin Cash Is Leading to An "Insider Trading" Investigation

Coinbase, a provider of digital wallets and trading services for crypto-currencies, said on December 20 it was investigating possible insider trading by employees and contractors after the price of bitcoin cash surged hours before the company announced it was adding the digital currency to its platform.

Coinbase users have always been calling for the platform to add Bitcoin Cash, now the world's third-biggest cryptocurrency, to its roster after it initially shunned the launch of the offshoot cryptocurrency in August.

Starting at 9 a.m. PST today, GDAX began allowing access to its bitcoin cash market once again, holding it in a post-only mode (in which users could submit asks and bids without having them executed) for the two hours that followed.

At its launch on Coinbase, Bitcoin Cash was valued at about $3,500 (£2,612) per coin, four minutes later the price had jumped to $8,500.

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This week's Bitcoin Cash debacle is just the latest example of the volatility and mistrust that continues to plague digital currency markets even as millions of ordinary people are rushing to invest.

"It appears the price of bitcoin cash on other exchanges increased in the hours before our announcement", Brian Armstrong, chief executive at Coinbase, said in a blog post. As such, he is taking the investigation into insider trading extremely seriously.

The price of bitcoin cash rose rapidly, likely due to the announcement from Coinbase that it would allow it to be traded on its GDAX exchange. "Given the price increase in the hours leading up the announcement, we will be conducting an investigation".

"If we find evidence of any employee or contractor violating our policies - directly or indirectly - I will not hesitate to terminate the employee immediately and take appropriate legal action", said Armstrong in his blog.

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Bitcoin Cash first surfaced online back in August when a group of developers "forked" the Bitcoin blockchain.

Coinbase stated: "Coinbase maintains a strict trading policy and internal guidelines for employees".

Armstrong says that his goal to to make Coinbase the easiest to use digital currency exchange that customers trust the most.

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