Coinbase outage caused crypto purchase issues, not an intentional ban

Coinbase posted an in-depth explanation of its Jan. 29 platform difficulties.

On Jan. 29, a number of Coinbase users reported issues with the platform’s buy and sell functions. The Coinbase difficulties arose just a day after Robinhood barred GameStop share purchases following surging prices on the stock. A recent blog post indicates the Coinbase difficulties arose from an outage, not a ban on trading. 

“Between 4:25am and 9:31am PST on Friday, January 29, had an outage,” Coinbase said in a post on Feb. 5. “During this time, many users experienced errors while attempting to use the Coinbase app and crypto buying, selling and trading features were intermittently available,” the post added, also noting that users of its professional exchange, Coinbase Pro, were still able to sign on to the platform.

The cause of the problems on Coinbase? Crypto price data difficulties. “It was quickly diagnosed as an issue with a Redis cluster used to store spot rates for currency conversions,” the blog post detailed. “These spot rates are used for estimated conversions between currencies, which puts it in the critical path for a range of functionality such as displaying the value of your portfolio in your local currency.”

Essentially, certain backend processes became overloaded and went down, based on subsequent information in the post. Coinbase’s tech team tried a number of options, eventually finding the right solution, which resurrected function on the platform. The post also dove deeper, laying out a timeline of events on the backend during the technical disruption.

“Any requests which relied on exchange rate data were failing, and users were therefore unable to access critical functionality on our site,” the post noted as a result of the issues described in the timeline of backend events.

Coinbase listed multiple changes the team has implemented for improvement going forward. Platform difficulties are not foreign to Coinbase. The outfit has experienced many connectivity problems in the past. In November 2020, Brian Armstrong, Coinbase’s CEO, tweeted about the company’s work toward fixing its issues.

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