Cryptocurrency exchanges have been overrun for months, as record demand has caused throttling or restriction of service altogether. With exchanges buckling under the strain, a number of platforms have been forced to temporarily shut their books. On Thursday, Bitstamp announced plans to recruit 100 new call center staff as it struggles to feed the crypto frenzy.
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Bitstamp Buttresses its Exchange
When crypto mania and bitcoin prices peaked in December, exchanges were onboarding over a million users a day. Prices have since dropped, but demand for admission to the crypto party has not. Users are still flocking to exchanges, and exchanges are doing their best to accommodate them whilst tending to their existing customer base. In a frank and detailed blogpost on Thursday, Bitstamp CEO Nejc Kodrič tried to sum up the extent of the problem. He began:
Our data confirms what was beyond even our most optimistic forecasts for customer growth in the past year. Under normal circumstances this would be cause for celebration, but we are certainly far from feeling in celebratory mood.
He also hinted frustration at having to field so many queries from newbs who lack the slightest understanding of the sector they’re so hastily piling into, noting: “The arrival of so many people who are completely new to the industry means we are also now fielding very different questions about what crypto is”.
Madness and Mania
Other exchange CEOs can relate to Kodrič’s situation. Last week Michael Gokturk, co-founder of Canada’s Einstein Exchange described the avalanche of customers trying to sign up as “madness”. CBC News reports how the exchange was forced to significantly increase its staffing, and now has over 50 employees working out of its Vancouver and Montreal offices. Goturk claimed to have “lost his voice” apologizing to clients who’d had funds held in limbo while the exchange played catch-up.
Bitstamp is also heavily investing in human resources. Nejc Kodrič writes:
Aware that you need real-time contact with us, and much better response times, we will be setting up a call centre with over 100 staff, which will be up and running in the coming weeks. We will also have a new ticketing system in place in 2 weeks from now to expedite the resolution of open tickets.
He finishes: “Don’t give up on us. I promise you that the efforts we are making will soon show results.”
Denial of Service
Other exchanges have also been hit with growing pains, with Bittrex, Cryptopia, Bitfinex, and Binance all temporarily shutting up shop at some stage during the past month. Normal service has since been resumed, and exchanges are reporting record trading volume. On Thursday, Binance published a snapshot of its six-month performance, revealing that it now serves three million active users a day.
From Bittrex’ curious coin delisting policy to Kraken’s record downtime, every major cryptocurrency exchange has been in the news this week. Even Poloniex hasn’t been exempt; gremlins in its trading platform caused users to report a spate of oddities, including massive sell walls and orders disappearing from the books. The problems now seem to have been addressed, but not before Zcash was forced to publish a statement pointing out that the ZEC sell wall on Poloniex was impossible, as at 3.9 million coins it was greater than the total number of Zcash in existence.
From onboarding to uptime, cryptocurrency exchanges are being vigorously stress tested. With only 1% of the world invested in crypto, the avalanche of new users may still have a long way to run.
Do you think cryptocurrency exchanges will ever manage to match demand, or are they destined to be constantly playing catch up? Let us know in the comments section below.
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