On February 28, 2024, as the Bitcoin price raced to the $64,000 level in a very short time, Coinbase, a leading cryptocurrency exchange, experienced a significant service disruption that affected its site’s performance and user transactions.

Source: TradingView

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the incident’s timeline, the steps taken toward resolution, and comments from Coinbase’s Co-Founder and CEO, Brian Armstrong, regarding the event.

Incident Timeline and Status Updates

Investigating (09:40 PST): The first acknowledgment of the issue came early in the day when Coinbase reported that some users were seeing a zero balance across their accounts and encountering errors in buying or selling cryptocurrencies.

The company assured users that their assets were safe and that an investigation was underway.

Update (11:29 PST): Coinbase updated its users, stating that there was a beginning to see improvement in customer trading. However, due to increased traffic, issues persisted, including errors in login, sends, receives, and some payment methods. The company reiterated the safety of users’ funds.

Identified (12:15 PST): Progress was noted as customer login recovered, and intermittent improvements in sends were observed. Despite this, due to continued heightened traffic, some customers still faced errors in receives and with certain payment methods.

Monitoring (13:05 PST): Activity on Coinbase.com began normalizing, prompting the company to continue monitoring its systems while providing updates to its users.

Update (16:13 PST): Coinbase announced that all services on Coinbase.com had been restored, although a very few customers might still see an inaccurate balance on their account. Efforts were being made to resolve this display issue.

Resolved (21:24 PST): The incident was officially declared resolved by Coinbase, marking the end of the service disruption that had impacted many of its users throughout the day.

CEO Brian Armstrong’s Comments

In response to the incident, Brian Armstrong took to social media platform X to address the situation and communicate directly with Coinbase’s user base.

First Statement (9:59 PST): Armstrong acknowledged the large surge of traffic on the platform and apologized for any issues encountered by users. He assured that the team was actively working to remediate the problems.

Second Statement (12:11 PST): Armstrong provided further insights into the challenges faced by Coinbase, revealing that the platform had modeled and load-tested for a 10x surge in traffic, which the actual influx exceeded. He discussed the financial and technical complexities of over-provisioning services and emphasized the need for ongoing work on auto-scaling solutions and eliminating bottlenecks. Armstrong thanked users for their patience during the incident.


This service disruption underscores the challenges faced by digital asset exchanges in managing unexpected surges in user traffic and maintaining robust, scalable infrastructure. Coinbase’s transparent communication and swift action to address and resolve the issues highlight the company’s commitment to user safety and service reliability. CEO Brian Armstrong’s engagement with the community and acknowledgment of the need for enhanced scalability solutions reflect a proactive approach to preventing future incidents and ensuring the platform’s resilience in the face of growing demand.

Featured Image via Coinbase