Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN), the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States has explained that it had erroneously sent wrong notifications to 125,000 of its customers. The notifications told customers that their security settings had change although that didn’t really happen. The crypto trading platform said that the mistake followed an internal error.
Coinbase has spent “most of the weekend working with customers to make sure we can address their questions,” company spokesperson Andrew Schmitt told CNBC. “We believe the only way to build trust with our customers is to be transparent when we mess up.”
Several customers complained about the notification last week. They believed that their account was hacked and asked Coinbase to act on it soon. Consequently, the crypto exchange giant said that it’s improving its customer service by including voice support this month for customers whose accounts were hacked by a third party. Additionally, Coinbase added that it will include a live chat on its platform later this year.
The company sent the security settings email to customers at 1:45 p.m. PT Friday. It said: “Your 2-step verification settings have been changed.” This prompted confusion and alarm among investors who thought their accounts had been hacked.
Coinbase then sent a second email that the notification was “sent in error.” The company said in a tweet it “experienced a notification delivery issue that sent SMS text messages and email notifications alerting customers that their account 2FA settings were changed.”
“Our team immediately began work to identify the issue and stop these erroneous notifications. We were able to stop these erroneous notifications by 3:07 pm PST. However, we recognize that this caused confusion for some,” the tweet said.
Customers were terrified after the SMS
The company said, “we will continue to work to gain back the trust of every one of our customers who was impacted by those notifications.”
Schmitt, the company spokesperson said: “All of a sudden, the system just started sending stuff like a bug in the system, but it was not a malicious or third party error.”
Don Pirtle, a 53-year-old retired police officer, told CNBC that he was alarmed when he got the company’s email on Friday that his two-factor authentication had been changed. He said he was afraid that a hacker was trying to take over his Coinbase account.
“I was scared to death. I contacted my daughter and her boyfriend. I asked them, ‘Should I sell my crypto?’” Pirtle said. “I thought, ‘I have to sell this before I lose the money.”’
That day, he said he sold $60,298 in crypto – an investment he was making for his grandson. He now questions whether it’s a safe investment.
Coinbase, which went public in April, has more than 68 million users, more than 2,100 full-time employees, and $223 million in held assets, according to the company.