Coinbase is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the United States. Moreover, its reliability was unwavering until a certain abuse caused the exchange to go to court. The case is still ongoing, there's no end in sight, and the result is still unpredictable.
Hard fork as a source of the problem
On March 1, 2018, an Arizona resident and stock market investor, Jeffrey Berk
, filed a lawsuit against Coinbase
on behalf of other victims. The main allegation was the so-called insider trading
, i.e. the use of classified information by persons associated with the exchange in order to obtain financial benefits. The exchange has also been accused of spreading false information.
When in 2017 there was to be a "split" of Bitcoin blockchain
, the so-called hard fork
, Coinbase has stated that it will not include the newly created Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
in its offer. It was considered impossible to predict how long this cryptocurrency
will remain on the market and its probable value in the future.
Communication has failed
The exchange has released several vague statements regarding the placement of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) on the list of cryptocurrencies offered. This eventually led the company to court. Coinbase advised users to withdraw funds from their accounts if they want to trade BCH because after blockchain's update it will be no longer possible. However, in August 2017, the exchange changed its mind and announced that it will be possible to withdraw funds in BCH, but only from January of the following year.
It is being said that the reasons for this situation were changes in the stock market system that are needed to carry out transactions in this cryptocurrency. At that time Coinbase
did not intend to add Bitcoin Cash
to its offer, but later changed its mind again and was to offer BCH from January 1. However, the exchange changed its schedule and decided to add coin on December 19, 2017, but did not inform customers about it. All this information was found on the indictment.
Despite all plans and statements made, Coinbase
introduced Bitcoin Cash
into its system only minutes after announcing its intentions. According to the prosecutors, the owners of the exchange did not even deny that some people had been notified in advance. This gave them a huge advantage over other investors, giving them a chance for huge profits. The lucky ones managed to buy BCH
at a good price, which reduced the liquidity of the digital currency. This, in turn, led to artificially caused violent inflation. Soon after, investors sold their funds and the stock market removed Bitcoin Cash
from its offer. The next day the stock exchange repeated this situation.
According to the indictment, Jeffrey Berk tried to buy BCH just 5 minutes after the crypto listing was announced. However, the system carried out the transaction only 20 hours later.
The next day, Berk learned that he had managed to buy the currency - at $4200.92 per coin. BCH's price was 100% higher than the day before when the investor started the transaction.