A bug during Kraken’s test of an advanced order type temporarily allowed some of the exchange’s clients to sell Bitcoin (BTC) for $12,000. Others were able to buy BTC for $8,000.
“Yesterday a test of an unreleased advanced order type encountered a bug which resulted in the order’s prices being matched against the wrong side of the book. Some clients bought from the tester at $8000 and others sold at $12000 without clearing the intervening liquidity.
While the candle gives the impression that liquidity was exhausted between $8-12k, the wicks on either side are hollow. A trade executed at the high and low but there were not trades throughout and there were no other orders that were not matched that should have been.
Stops in the range of $8-12k were triggered. Stop market orders were correctly filled at market price (best bid/ask available).”
The exchange encourages clients to submit support tickets if the bug impacted their accounts.
Some traders on Twitter criticized the exchange for the negative optics the bug caused.
You missed the most important part of admitting you effed up — telling people know what you plan to do about it.
Testing against live customer funds? How are we to believe this hasn't been the cause of past flash crashes? How can anyone trust your order matching system?
— Jon Phillips (@jrichphillips) September 14, 2019
Kraken CEO Jesse Powell pushed back against the condemnation.
We intend to fix the bug before we resume the beta. Would you prefer no testing? All production code in the world is being tested all the time. This order type saw thousands of tests over months before being pushed to the limited production beta.
— Jesse Powell (@jespow) September 14, 2019
Powell notes that he believes the impacts were minimal: Some lucky traders will keep their $8,000 buys and $12,000 sells, and the exchange will “reimburse the beta tester out of pocket.”
Says the CEO,
“All production software is in testing all the time, which is why there are things like bug bounties, patches, updates. We take a very careful, staged approach to releasing software and this feature was already heavily tested before its prod limited beta test.”
Bitcoin is currently trading at $10,356.88, according to CoinMarketCap.