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Coinbase customers were unable to cash in on bitcoin boom

written by Bella Palmer

It came at a time when bitcoin hit a high of more than $19,700 a coin

Some cryptocurrency traders found themselves unable to access their money and cash in on the recent bitcoin boom as the most popular cryptocurrency exchange in Britain froze their funds for over a month without explanation.

Dozens of customers of San Francisco-based Coinbase, which lets users buy, sell and store cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ripple, complained of being left 'totally in the dark' after accounts began being frozen as long ago as late October.

They were told they needed to re-upload a driving licence or passport documents to verify their identity, even if they had already done so, but were subsequently told their account 'was under review'.

This left them completely frozen out without explanation, unable to buy or sell cryptocurrencies on the exchange or withdraw their funds, while many reported being unable to get a response from customer services despite multiple emails and social media messages.

It came at a time when bitcoin, the world's best-known cryptocurrency, hit a high of more than $19,700 a coin and investors tried to get in on the action.

Coinbase has 35million users worldwide and was the exchange of choice for three-fifths of UK consumers surveyed by the Financial Conduct Authority in research published earlier this year, said the issue affected 'a small number of our UK customers.'

One post on a section of the social media platform Reddit dedicated to Coinbase said there had been '50 to 100 new posts a week because users can't login or have no access to their funds.'

Users have now reported their accounts are being unlocked but beyond 'technical issues' the company has not specified why customers were unable to access their money.

There have been 10 connectivity or outage problems between March and December 2020 involving Coinbase which have impacted customers trying to trade, including three last month, but none of these appeared to involve customers being locked out of their accounts.


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