Coinbase Exchange Experienced an Outage Due to 5x Traffic Spike During the BTC Surge


June 8, 2020 1:38 pm

Coinbase Exchange Experienced an Outage Due to 5x Traffic Spike During the Bitcoin Surge
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Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States said its autoscaling couldn’t keep up with a huge 5x traffic spike experienced during a Bitcoin price surge to $10,000, that left many users unable to log in on June 1.

On June 6, a blog posted by Coinbase software engineer Michael de Hoog, the exchange endured a 5x traffic spike over four minutes around 16:05 PDT on June 1, approximately the time the price of Bitcoin (BTC) was approaching $10,000 and the exchange’s autoscaling was “unable to keep pace with this dramatic increase in traffic”

“This traffic spike affected a number of our internal services, increasing latency between services. This led to process saturation of the web servers responsible for our API [application programming interface], where the number of incoming requests was greater than the number of listening processes, causing the requests to either be queued and timeout, or fail immediately. Our request error rate spiked to 50%, causing customers to experience errors when interacting with and our mobile apps.”

Traffic on Coinbase. Source: Coinbase

Coinbase stated that it redeployed the API at 16:20 to increase the number of machines dealing with this spike in traffic. Another two-minute outage followed “due to instances saturating and being marked unhealthy” before the exchange was back online.

 Coinbase outages History

The Coinbase has gone offline four times in the last three months during major Bitcoin price moves, due to connectivity issues, ETC Send / Receive delayed due to Network Upgrade and delays in identity verifications, leaving several users unable to access their portfolios. However, as per the report by Crypto Twitter revealed the problems on the exchange went further back than that. On June 3, CryptoWhale posted a chart to his 18,000+ followers showing how Coinbase had gone offline 11 times in its history during major price moves:

Outages during huge downturns or price surges, unfortunately, harmed the traders desiring to buy and sell the most. Losses can mount when Coinbase users aren’t able to access their accounts to sell their crypto, and potential profits can simply disappear when they can’t buy anything.

Coinbase Future Improvements And Solutions

The Coinbase stated that they were working on improvements in response to the June 1 outage and if they were to experience another traffic spike to the price of Bitcoin swiftly surging or falling, software engineer Michael de Hoog answered pre-scaling and caching” would decrease the impact. Longer-term we’re planning to improve our deployment process to mitigate some of the autoscaling issues we experienced.”

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