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Exchange crash leaves crypto investors fuming

—Chiranjivi Chakraborty

Millions of user of India’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, WazirX, were left fuming as the exchange’s services crashed on Thursday. While users were able to sell and buy certain cryptocurrencies on WazirX’s mobile application, several features such as charts were unusable, users of the app told ETMarkets.com.

“The price dip in the market has encouraged more people to buy into the dip thereby causing a tremendous surge in our traffic. We’re seeing approximately 400% more traffic that what we witnessed in previous month,” WazirX said in an email to ETMarkets.com.

WazirX was not the only exchange that faced technical troubles due to the deluge of investors rushing to exit their positions or buy into the dip. Global exchanges such as Binance, which has a stake in WazirX, and Coinbase also reported issues in withdrawals. The extreme price swings in an asset known for its turbulence caused outages on major crypto exchanges and dominated chatter on Wall Street.

Cryptocurrencies are under severe selling pressure that has seen popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum erase nearly half of their value from their record highs. The crash today was in reaction to media reports in China that the country has banned financial and payment institutions from cryptocurrency business.

The cryptocurrency space has been under relentless selling pressure throughout the week due to comments made by Tesla Founder Elon Musk and his company’s decision last week to halt payment for Tesla in Bitcoins.

Musk highlighted the extraneous pressure that Bitcoin mining, key to keep the entire blockchain structure of the cryptocurrency running, is putting on the environment due to its excessive use of fossil fuels as energy. Bitcoin alone takes up more power than countries as large as Argentina to keep the system running.

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