Coinbase Halts Ether and Litecoin Trading as Crypto Market Approaches $500 Billion

Cryptomania has propelled two lesser-known cryptocurrencies to record highs Tuesday, forcing one exchange to halt trading.

Coinbase on Tuesday halted trading of red-hot litecoin and ether, according to cryptocurrency watcher CoinDesk. The publication tweeted a photo showing Coinbase “temporarily disabled” trades of the two digital coins on its platform.

Coinbase’s status page showed ethereum and litecoin were experiencing major outages.

Both litecoin and ether hit all-time highs Tuesday morning.

Ether hit $600 a token, while litecoin gained more than 40% to $312.

Across the market for digital coins, new investors are pouring in. The 10 largest cryptocurrencies were all trading in the green Tuesday, according to data provider CoinMarketCap.

At the time of print, the entire market nearly reached $500 billion. Cryptocurrencies volumes approached record highs above $35 billion.

The launch of bitcoin futures by Cboe Global Markets, the Chicago exchange group, further pushed bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into the spotlight. The new futures market, which went live Sunday, could pave the way for a bitcoin-linked exchange-traded fund and dampen bitcoin’s spine-tingling volatility. Of course, the 1,000% plus returns across the market has also piqued the interest of Wall Street and Main Street investors.

Enthusiasts think the new found interest in the crypto-world will intensify in 2018.

“2018 will be the year of mass public awareness for bitcoin and cryptocurrency,” Perry Woodin, CEO of Node40, said in preparded remarks sent to Business Insider. “It is going to be the year when every friend and relative will want to know how much you have and how to purchase it.”

Still, many market watchers see a massive bubble in the crypto-market. Even Mike Novogratz, a famed hedge fund manager turned crypto-investor, called it “the biggest bubble of our lifetimes.”

Litecoin’s founder also chimed in on the frenzy. The former director of engineering at crypto exchange Coinbase tweeted a dire warning for potential litecoin holders Monday night:

“Sorry to spoil the party, but I need to reign in the excitement a bit…,” he wrote. “Buying LTC is extremely risky. I expect us to have a multi-year bear market like the one we just had where LTC dropped 90% in value ($48 to $4). So if you can’t handle LTC dropping to $20, don’t buy!”

A spokeswoman for Coinbase told Business Insider, “The site is seeing high traffic volume at the moment and some users may be experiencing intermittent service outages.”