Bitcoin plunges more than $2,500, bounces back somewhat, as bitcoin cash surges on trading news

September 21, 2017

Wild swings after Coinbase says it will start bitcoin-cash trading

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Bitcoin tumbled Tuesday night.

In a matter of hours, the price of bitcoin BTCUSD, -0.72%   dropped from $18,125 to as low as $15,578. Bitcoin later rallied somewhat and was trading within a $1,000-range; it was last at $16,875 Tuesday night. Bitcoin futures BTCF8, -4.34%  on the CME Group’s Chicago Mercantile Exchange were last trading at $17,425, off more than $700 from the afternoon. Bitcoin cash, meanwhile, rallied more than 50% to all-time highs above $3,300. It was last trading at $3,303, according to CoinMarketCap.

“Sends and receives are available immediately,” Coinbase said in a blog post Tuesday announcing bitcoin-cash trading. “Buys and sells will be available to all customers once there is sufficient liquidity on GDAX. We anticipate that this will take a few hours.”

However, Coinbase and its GDAX exchange late Tuesday suspended bitcoin-cash trading after just four minutes until 9 a.m. Pacific time Wednesday, apparently until traffic settles down and liquidity is established.

Bitcoin cash was created by a split from bitcoin on Aug. 1 by a faction of disgruntled developers, and allows virtual miners to process transactions in larger units — 8 megabytes rather than the 1-MB bitcoin blocks. The fledgling cryptocurrency has expanded 10-fold since then, and is now the third-largest by market cap, at $55.6 billion, according to

The price of bitcoin has shot up nearly 1,800% in 2017, leading many to worry it’s in a bubble that’s bound to pop.

“I am certain that bitcoin is a bubble that will end badly,” investment strategist Ivan Martchev wrote earlier Tuesday in a MarketWatch column. And he predicted “bitcoin won’t come back because there is nothing behind it other than rising numbers of investors bidding rising amounts of money for a line of code.”

But experts say that even if bitcoin pops, its underlying technology is likely to transform the future of finance.