On December 6, 2017, Coinbase, one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, opened at 381. This was significantly higher than the price of Bitcoin on other exchanges that day, which was around $17,000. So why did Coinbase open at 381?
There are a few possible explanations. First, it’s possible that Coinbase’s opening price was simply a mistake.
Given the large number of people who were trying to buy Bitcoin on December 6 (due to the hype around Bitcoin’s price reaching $20,000), it’s not surprising that an error could have been made.
Second, it’s possible that Coinbase deliberately opened at a higher price in order to take advantage of the situation. By doing so, they would have been able to sell Bitcoin to people at a higher price than what it was trading for on other exchanges.
This would have been a very profitable move for Coinbase, but it would have angering a lot of people who thought they were getting a good deal only to find out that they could have gotten a better deal elsewhere.
Third, and this is the most likely explanation in my opinion, is that Coinbase opened at 381 because that was the price of Bitcoin on their GDAX exchange at the time. GDAX is owned by Coinbase and is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges. On December 6, the price of Bitcoin on GDAX reached $19,000 before suddenly crashing down to around $12,000.
It’s possible that when Coinbase opened for trading on December 6, they used the prices from GDAX as their starting point. This would explain why their prices were so much higher than other exchanges.
Whatever the reason may be, it’s clear that Coinbase’s opening price on December 6 was very unusual. It caused a lot of confusion and anger among people who were trying to buy Bitcoin that day.
Hopefully in the future Coinbase will be more clear about why their prices are different from other exchanges.