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Coinbase suspends ethereum buys and sells twice in one day

  • Coinbase temporarily disables ethereum buys and sells twice on Tuesday as the digital currency soars to record highs.
  • Coinbase is the leading U.S. platform for buying and selling major cryptocurrencies, and said earlier that litecoin buys and sells were temporarily disabled.
  • Earlier, a spokesperson for Coinbase said in a statement that "the site is seeing high traffic volume at the moment and some users may be experiencing intermittent service outages."
Joseph Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Joseph Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum.

Coinbase, the leading U.S. platform for buying and selling major digital currencies, said twice on Tuesday that transactions in ethereum were "temporarily disabled."

In the morning New York time, Coinbase said buys and sells of ethereum and litecoin were temporarily disabled. That issue was resolved around noon ET. But by 2:04 p.m., Coinbase said on its status website that ethereum buys and sells were temporarily disabled again, before resolving the problem within 45 minutes.

The company did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment on the latest halt in transactions. Earlier, a spokesperson for Coinbase said in a statement that "the site is seeing high traffic volume at the moment and some users may be experiencing intermittent service outages."

Ethereum seven-day performance

Source: CoinMarketCap

Coinbase's GDAX exchange website also said there is a "partially degraded service," as of 2:38 p.m.

Ethereum briefly surged more than 23 percent Tuesday to a record high of $637.62, according to CoinMarketCap. Bitcoin spiked more than 5 percent to a high of $17,615.47, according to CoinDesk's bitcoin price index.

"As an industry we are experiencing a massive increase in interest and adoption, and for most people Coinbase is the most accessible on-ramp," said Benjamin Roberts, co-founder and CEO of Citizen Hex, an ethereum-focused start-up backed by three Canadian venture funds."Scaling any software business is challenging, but scaling a business like Coinbase, which secures huge amounts of digital value, is extremely complex."

"To date they have made all the right moves, and I'm sure they are being extremely cautious as they experience the largest wave of adoption that cryptocurrency has ever seen," Roberts said.

The gains in ethereum followed news Monday that UBS is leading a project to use ethereum's technology to improve data quality as part of impending implementation of financial regulation in Europe called MiFID II. Barclays, Credit Suisse, KBC, SIX and Thomson Reuters are also participating in the project.

With Tuesday's gains, ethereum is now up more than 7,500 percent from $8 at the start of this year, according to CoinMarketCap.

"The rise you're seeing is a lot of speculation on the usefulness of ethereum," said Dan Ciotoli, a software engineer and blockchain analyst at Bespoke Invest.

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