Bitcoin Price Rallies As Crypto Exchange Coinbase Is Roiled By Lawsuits

Bitcoin prices rallied today after sputtering through the weekend. At 16:30 UTC, the price of one bitcoin token traded for $11,531, up 0.45% in the last 24 hours on muted trading volume.

Ripple, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, also climbed. At 16:35 UTC, Ripple (XRP) traded at $1.05 a token, a spike of 5.23% over the past 24 hours. 

Ripple's price may have been buoyed by chatter that Coinbase – the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange – could soon allow XRP trading.

“If Coinbase adds Ripple to its platform, we would see higher interest among investors, and the price could rise further," Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at ThinkCoin, told MarketWatch.  "Confidence in Ripple would also help bitcoin's price, where the odds are skewed for a further upward move."

(Bitcoin Price Chart/WorldCoinIndex)

Meanwhile, 8 of the top 10 virtual currencies all registered price drops in the last 24 hours. Ethereum Classic (ETH) plunged more than 5%, while Monero slid 1.1% after topping $370 over the weekend on heavy trading volume. 

One potential reason for this spike is Monero's impending hard fork, which is scheduled for March 14. (See more: Monero Price Tops $350 Ahead of March 14 Hard Fork.)

Among the top 10 most valuable virtual currencies in the world, all but two registered gains in their market capitalization. In the last 24 hours, Ripple's market cap grew a hefty 9.29%, while Stellar rose almost 5%. Meanwhile, Neo's market cap sank 2.53%.

Meanwhile, bitcoin exchange Coinbase has been roiled by two federal class action lawsuits filed on consecutive days (last Thursday and Friday). Both suits, which were filed in California, demand jury trials and an unspecified amount in damages.

In the first lawsuit, filed on March 1, Coinbase employees were accused of using inside information to illegally profit from Bitcoin Cash trading. (See more: Coinbase Hit With 2 Class Action Lawsuits.) These unlawful actions artificially inflated the price of BCH, the plaintiffs alleged.

And just last week, the IRS successfully sued to compel Coinbase – the world's most popular bitcoin exchange – to hand over user data on 13,000 customers, presumably in a move to tax their bitcoin gains. (See more: IRS Wants to Tax Your Bitcoin Gains: Orders Coinbase to Hand Over User Data.)

Investing in cryptocurrencies and other Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or other ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns no cryptocurrencies.

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