Downtime is so 2017. It’s 2020. We can do better.
Downtimes should be a thing of the past. When exchanges experience downtimes, users suffer. These outages are generally based on unexpected surges in volume, typically experienced when Bitcoin becomes highly volatile. Our history is our advantage: with over ten years of understanding the developing cryptocurrency markets, we’ve developed our own methodology for avoiding downtimes.
Years ago, when cryptocurrency exchanges first launched, reliability was trial and error. Security practices were still very much in development and transaction confirmations were slow and inconsistent. We’ve come a long way since then. In the eleven years since the inception of Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency industry has advanced into a sophisticated ecosystem of alternative finance. Dedication and commitment, spurred on by an unflinching belief in decentralized transactions, has given rise to remarkable and innovative developments that give users greater financial access, autonomy, security.
In 2017, we experienced exponential growth in cryptocurrency adoption as bitcoin soared, smashing price predictions. It was an exciting time that made clear where improvement was most needed: infrastructure to support scale and volume. Much has happened in the three years since, but today the industry is still not where we need it to be. Exchanges are too often experiencing downtimes, exposing fault lines in infrastructure. We need to do better.
Crypto-focused media outlets widely report on exchange outages to the point that they’re seemingly becoming regular occurrences. Heavy transaction and user volumes during times of high volatility is a frequent reason for downtimes, as Coinbase and Kraken have experienced. Similarly, when Bitcoin fell in mid-March, Gemini and Bitmex went down. In February, Binance suspended trading for six hours due to “system maintenance.” And memorably, March was a challenging month for traders at Robinhood.
“Despite the ongoing development in crypto exchanges’ technical infrastructure and engineering staff, the latest incident reminds crypto traders that access to even major platforms may become degraded or unavailable during times of significant volatility or volume,” said a Finance Magnates article published on April 30th. The trading community deserves better.
“Trust math” is a common phrase used within the crypto community; it’s the basis of our work as proponents of blockchain-based assets. But people ship code, and people are imperfect, therefore code can be imperfect too. Of course, there are possibilities for failure that are beyond control. But by planning for failure, we can plan for these potentialities and mitigate risk.
We know that cryptocurrency markets can become highly volatile and trading volume will increase significantly. Planning for this, or ‘planning for failure,’ is what ultimately leads to robust software and greater redundancy. At OKCoin, we take downtimes very seriously and have for a long time. Our solution is focused on ensuring our customers can trade reliably. We take a varied approach, which includes planning for possible technical and human failures. While this is not completely foolproof, we believe we have the right mechanisms in place to keep our platform running seamlessly:
- Stress testing and product simulations
- Scheduled maintenance and upgrades
- Regular auditing of processes and policies
- Implementing technology that scales and balances based on orders
This approach has placed us among exchanges with lowest downtimes in the industry. Our mission of making crypto and digital assets more accessible for anyone around the world requires us to plan and build for future demand and volatility.