CoinMarketCap Briefly Makes New Crypto Billionaires Due to a Glitch

Some holders of crypto wallets from Coinbase and Trust Wallet Wallet briefly thought they had became billionaires, on Wed, Dec.15, 2021.

Crypto market data firm CoinMarketCap experienced a glitch in pricing data for approximately two hours on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. Bitcoin shot to $850B, while Ethereum supposedly hit $179B. This sent traders reeling headfirst into utopia. Many believed they were crypto trillionaires. CoinMarketCap burst their bubble by announcing that a glitch had occurred in its price calculation engine due to the high volume of users on the platform.

According to Coinbase, which uses CoinmarketCap’s data, the error did not impact trading. It was an error in the display of the price. Coinbase’s non-tradeable asset data was affected, and assets in Coinbase Wallet were affected. Whether the mistake was due to a security breach or simply a software bug is unclear. CoinMarketCap’s website announced at approximately 21:36 UTC that the engineering was aware of the incorrect prices but worked to resolve the issue. The issue was deemed resolved at 21:39 UTC on Dec. 15, 2021. CoinMarketCap’s systems are currently all operational.

Pricing Glitch Effects

Twitter user @michaeljknowles tweeted that he appeared to have $7.7B worth of Ethereum in his Coinbase Wallet and decided to sell, despite the $1.2 miner fee. He only received $48.05. Binance Coin was listed at more than $2B, with its actual price at around $527. Shiba Inu’s price shot up to $22,026. Its actual price was around $0.000034. Trust Wallet was also affected, though coin and token balances appeared correct. Earlier this year, BlockFi, which runs a crypto lending and trading business, accidentally deposited bitcoin into users’ wallets, with one user receiving over 700 BTC. BlockFi asked customers to return the funds and threatened legal action if anyone withdrew the bitcoin from the wallet.

Pricing Glitch Not Good For Industry

Nic Carter of Castle Island Ventures said after the hack, “For these markets to be perceived as credible by institutions and regulators, we need reliable and transparent data sources.” Chainlink co-founder, Sergey Nazarov, believes that decentralized oracles are the answer to glitches like this. CoinMarketCap is a centralized market data source, owned by Binance.


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