Insider Trading Probe Launched After Bitcoin Cash Increases Suddenly

An attendee wearing a t-shirt decorated with a bitcoin rocket illustration and the words 'To the Moon' checks his smartphone at the Cryto Space conference in Moscow Russia on Friday Dec. 8 2017

When the exchange announced last night that it would start supporting the new cryptocurrency, it also said that anyone who held bitcoin in their Coinbase wallets when it forked will finally get their tokens, the company announced in a statement last night.

Coinbase has allowed the purchasing, selling and trading of Bitcoin cash since Tuesday but it was suspended temporarily soon after. The exchange did this to ensure a "fair and orderly market". At the time of the trading halt, bitcoin cash was trading at around $8,500, reports the BBC.

Bitcoin cash emerged earlier this year amid a split between factions in the cryptocurrency space over proposed software upgrades to the blockchain technology underpinning bitcoin.

The sudden increase in the value of Bitcoin Cash could also have had an impact on the short-term price trend of bitcoin, given that the price of Bitcoin Cash has increased by almost 50 percent within the past 24 hours. Even with futures trading and tighter regulation in place to add some stability, virtual money still tends to be volatile - it doesn't take much to create havoc.

The sharp drop earlier today it seems was caused by news that Coinbase - one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges - made a decision to open up its doors to bitcoin cash trading.

Armstrong indicated that all Coinbase employees and contractors "were explicitly prohibited from trading Bitcoin Cash and from disclosing our launch plans over a month ago".

Armstrong said he "will not hesitate" to fire any employee found to have violated Coinbase policies, which bar them from trading on material non-public information - such as when an asset will be added to the platform.

"All BCH books will enter cancel-only mode, and all existing orders will be cleared".

Just hours before the launch, Bitcoin Cash prices on other exchanges went through the roof, leading to accusations that Coinbase employees had been buying up the coins to trade for a profit when Coinbase waded in.

Others on Twitter, however, came to Armstrong's defense and said the CEO was clearly not complicit in any insider trading activities.

Bitcoin Cash is now the world's third biggest crypto-currency with a total market capitalisation of about $59bn, according to Coinmarketcap.

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