Musk-fuelled bitcoin surge triggers cryptocurrency exchange glitches

Major cryptocurrency exchanges experienced technical issues on Monday as trading volumes soared after billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc revealed it had purchased $1.5 billion of bitcoin and would soon accept it as a form of payment.

The electric-vehicle company’s move marked the latest step toward mainstream acceptance of bitcoin, sending it 10% higher on expectations that other companies will soon join asset manager BlackRock Inc and payments companies Square and PayPal in backing the cryptocurrency.

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Kraken said it had re-enabled sign-ups after temporarily disabling them earlier in the day because of heavy traffic leading to connectivity issues with its website, while peers Gemini and Binance said their systems were experiencing difficulties.

“The recent run-up far exceeded anticipated increases in demand, up over five-fold from previous all-time highs,” a Kraken spokesperson said in an email.

The spokesperson added that $56 billion of digital assets were traded on Kraken in January this year, more than what was traded throughout all of 2019.

Kraken said it was working to increase capacity to handle higher demand in the future.

Coinbase, founded in 2012 and among the most well-known cryptocurrency platforms globally, said on its website that no issues had been reported on Monday.

“Our platform is fully up and running and has been throughout the recent trading surges,” a spokesman for Coinbase told Reuters. Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru and additional reporting by Niket Nishant and Sohini Podder; Editing by Aditya Soni and Ramakrishnan M.