The Federal Reserve said it is restoring services that were thrown offline Wednesday by an “operational error” that spurred outages in a dozen areas, including check clearing and Fedwire, which handles trillions of dollars in transactions daily for the world’s biggest banks.
“A Federal Reserve operational error resulted in disruption of service in several business lines,” the Fed told Reuters in an emailed statement. “We are restoring services and are communicating with all Federal Reserve Financial Services customers about the status of operations.”
All nine of the Fed’s electronic services crashed in the early afternoon, and by 2:30pm EST, had been restored, but the key Fedwire Funds system that allows banks to settle large payments like mortgages or commercial loans, and acts as a clearinghouse for financial institutions executing major transactions, was still down.
The affected services form the hidden backbone to the US banking system, facilitating check clearing and allowing billions of dollars of payments to flow daily through the financial system, including credit and debt transfers, and all transactions of US Treasury bonds.
The outage was being mocked and celebrated on social media by cryptocurrency supporters who have long supported electronic ledger blockchain technology as a superior and safer alternative to the Fed’s current system.