Bitcoin Cash: Scandal erupts as Coinbase investigates claims of insider trading

The Insane Hour After Coinbase Added Bitcoin Cash Is Leading to An "Insider Trading" Investigation

Traders originally grew suspicious when the bitcoin cash value took a sharp upturn in the hours leading up to the company's announcement, with many suspecting that individuals with insider knowledge of the event procured bitcoin cash at a low rate prior to the launch.

Observers noticed that the price of Bitcoin Cash rose sharply before news of its availability on the exchange broke, and that there was a sharp selloff virtually the moment trading started.

Coinbase originally opted not to allow bitcoin cash trading on its platform, but surprised users by reversing its decision on Tuesday.

In theory, Coinbase's staff, who were in the know that it was about to add Bitcoin Cash to its exchange, could have profited by buying the cryptocurrency on other exchanges.

Armstrong said in addition to trading restrictions, the policy prohibits communication of material non-public information outside the company, including to friends and family.

Bitcoin cash, a clone of bitcoin, jumped to $US8,500 ($A11,900) on Coinbase's exchange on Tuesday afternoon, hours before the San Francisco-based exchange launched trading in bitcoin cash.

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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).

In an earlier blog post, an executive from Coinbase's exchange platform GDAX explained it had cancelled some Bitcoin Cash orders and cleared its order books to "ensure a fair and orderly market".

"Given the price increase in the hours leading up the announcement, we will be conducting an investigation into this matter", the Coinbase CEO said in a blog post.

It's not certain when Bitcoin Cash transactions will return to the exchange. He plans to terminate any employee found violating company policy and take appropriate legal action.

Bitcoin has soared to new highs this month as regulated US derivatives exchanges in Chicago started trading futures in the unit. "Factors we considered include developer and community support, security, stability, market price and trading volume".

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