Did Someone Just Buy Bitcoin for $131 on GDAX?

Cryptocurrency exchanges often display odd behavior that is very difficult to explain. Order delays, failed transactions, and outages are becoming the new normal these days. However, something especially unusual happened on the GDAX exchange yesterday, as several Bitcoin buy orders were executed for the price of US$131. This should not be possible, and we have to hope this was just a visual glitch. If not, someone may have made a lot of good money thanks to the company somehow messing up.

Stocking up on Very Cheap Bitcoin?

Most cryptocurrency exchanges are incapable of handling the current load of trades. That is only to be expected, mind you, as centralized platforms are simply not built to process a lot of orders in quick succession. Even the bigger cryptocurrency exchanges struggle in this regard. Coinbase and GDAX are no strangers to temporary issues and degraded performance, although they seem to handle their business a bit better compared to the rest of the market.

That doesn’t mean platforms such as GDAX will not have hiccups along the way, though. More specifically, there have been a few orders for very cheap Bitcoins which were seemingly processed by the platform without any issues. Although everyone is looking to buy Bitcoin cheaply these days, being able to buy at a price of US$131 right now is something out of a dream for most people. Surprisingly, it seems one trader was successful in this regard.

All three orders were executed when Bitcoin was trading at a price of US$15,709. Assuming this was neither a visual glitch nor a hoax, the buyer successfully purchased 7.5 Bitcoin at the price of US$131. If those coins were resold immediately, he or she would have made a profit of over US$100,000. It is uncanny how we see these issues every now and again, although they rarely involve such major price differences. We can only hope this was a visual glitch and not actual trades which were executed.

Companies like GDAX are not immune to server problems and trading engine issues. However, this would certainly take the cake in that regard, as a US$15,575 price discrepancy per single Bitcoin purchased is easily a new record. The company hasn’t issued any official statement regarding this incident just yet. In most cases, such lucky trades will result in a reversal of funds or simply the freezing of one’s account until the company can determine what happened exactly.

For those unaware, no one can effectively dump through the Bitcoin order book with such small orders. If someone wanted to crash the Bitcoin price from over US$15,700 all the way to US$131.66, they would need to control most of the circulating Bitcoin supply. That is not feasible, which makes these sorts of trades all the more strange. A visual glitch is still the most likely explanation for this incident, mind you, but if these were actual trades, GDAX will have a lot to answer for.

For the time being, we have to assume this was either a visual glitch or something that simply never happened in the first place. It is evident exchanges can sometimes be tricked into such low-price orders, although it is highly unlikely someone managed to pull this off. Then again, this news comes on the heels of some very odd trading behavior affecting the Coinbase exchange, which makes these trades seem slightly more plausible. There are a lot of different opinions regarding these alleged trades right now; that much is evident. Only time will tell which story is actually true.