UPDATED | December 22, 2017:
Coinbase announced at 10:44 AM PST that "Buys and sells have been re-enabled."
Around 8:11 this morning, December 22, 2017, traders on the Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange experienced an interruption of service.
The Coinbase support team relayed a message to users via social media indicating that the issue was under investigation, and on the exchange's website a status message said, "All buys and sells have been temporarily disabled. We are working on a fix and apologize for any inconvenience." About 24 minutes later, another status update said that due to high traffic, "buys and sells may be temporarily offline."
It has happened several times when massive fluctuations have occurred in the cryptocurrency marketplace: traders have found themselves unable to use Coinbase to address their positions in the face of volatility. In the last 24 hours, the total market capitalization across the board for cryptocurrencies fell from just above $600 billion to $480 billion.
In 2017, Coinbase's user base grew to at least 13.3 million users, based on a report from this November. Coinbase now surpasses the active accounts on the Charles Schwab brokerage. With the surging popularity of cryptocurrency and mainstream acceptance, the uptick in traffic to the exchange has given it some growing pains, evident now as intermittent support for trading has become something of a thorn in Coinbase's side.
The issues today are reminiscent of the tumultuous launch of bitcoin cash on the exchange days before, on December 20. If it is to meet the increasing demands of its users, Coinbase may want to address any issues that could take it offline when the market moves.