Coinbase Rolls Out Bitcoin Cash Support

What Is Bitcoin Cash & Why Is Everyone Freaking Out About It Right Now?Dan Kitwood  Getty Images News  Getty Images

Coinbase Inc, one of the most popular U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges, is adding the Bitcoin splitoff known as Bitcoin cash to its offerings, giving momentum to a rival of the most traded digital unit. Because of the curious price increase for BCH ahead of Coinbase's announced support, the company has determined to undertake an investigation into the matter. In the wake of wild price swings and unusual activity on other exchanges, parent company Coinbase is is now handling concerns about potential insider trading.

While Coinbase briefly enabled orders to be posted in United States dollars on its platform for more sophisticated traders, it suspended the facility after two minutes due to 'significant volatility, ' the company said in a blog post.

At the time of writing, the last quoted price on GDAX was listed at $9,500, almost $6,000 above Bitcoin Cash's new all-time high price average. Immediately after the launch, the price of the cryptocurrency rose to all-time highs of around $3,600 on most major exchanges.

And, within minutes of the announcement, prices of Bitcoin plunged, falling below $17,000 from a high of $19,694 on Sunday (according to Coindesk).

The price of Bitcoin Cash briefly reached more than $8,500 on Coinbase's own exchange, significantly more than the $3,500 it was trading at on other indexes.

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While it's unclear whether any Coinbase or GDAX employees actually acted on this information, the company explained via Twitter, "Coinbase maintains a strict trading policy and internal guidelines for employees".

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. Bitcoin Cash changes one key characteristic of Bitcoin by allowing larger chunks of data to be written to its blockchain at one time.

Armstrong also emphasised that he had told Coinbase employees through several channels that they were prohibited from trading bitcoin cash in the weeks leading up to its launch on GDAX. This announcement caused sharp market moves and the company is now investigating the price spikes for any evidence if employees violated the company's trading policies. This peculiarity of the split effectively created "new" money, leading some exchanges not to support Bitcoin Cash.

As of Wednesday morning ET, the ability to buy or sell Bitcoin Cash remained disabled on Coinbase, though customers could transfer it to other digital currency wallets.

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