UK Broker Plus500 Offers Ripple Cryptocurrency CFDs to 150k+ Traders

Plus500, the second largest CFD broker in the United Kingdom, has added Ripple (XRP) to its cryptocurrency offering. The London-based brokerage has not made an official statement on the new addition yet, but some Plus500 clients have already started trading Ripple CFDs with 5X leverage via Plus500’s Android and iPhone Apps.

With the addition of Ripple, Plus500 now offers its 150k+ active client base the ability to speculate on four of the world’s most valuable cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Ripple.

Ar press time, Plus500 has not disclosed any details on why Ripple was chosen over other popular cryptocurrencies like DASH and Monero, but XRP’s surging popularity across the globe, especially in the UK, may have pushed Plus500 to go with Ripple.

Google Trends data indicates that Ripple-related searches originating from the United Kingdom have surged over the past several months:

Chinese And Korean Investment Capital Propels Litecoin Market Cap Above $2 Billion

Litecoin (LTC) became the world’s 4th most valuable cryptocurrency on Friday evening after large speculative inflows from China and Korea propelled Litecoin’s market capitalization above $2 the billion mark.

Over the past 24h, a combined total of $300 million (40% of global LTC volume) flowed through OKCoin and Huobi’s LTC/CNY trading pairs. While on Korea’s most popular exchange, Bithumb, buyers and sellers swapped approximately $97 million worth of Litecoin over the past 24h (12.64% of global daily volume).

And American and European investors also joined the Litecoin frenzy. On America’s most popular cryptocurrency exchange, Poloniex, a sudden surge of speculative capital drove Litecoin’s exchange rate against Bitcoin to a 30-day high of 0.01953.

At press time, data from CoinMarketCap indicates that 10.62% ($82.3 million) of global Litecoin turnover took place on Poloniex’s LTC/BTC pair.

Although LTC/BTC exchange rate hoovered mostly around 0.011 during the first two weeks of June, more recent developments have re-focused investors’ attention back on Litecoin. Last Friday, Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin and director of engineering at Coinbase, announced he was leaving Coinbase to continue working on the Litecoin network.

Additionally, Luxembourg-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp said yesterday on Twitter that Litecoin-based trading pairs will be added next Monday.

However, today’s unexpected announcement by Bitmain, the largest manufacturer of specialized digital currency mining equipment, placed Litecoin on the ‘radars’ of millions of investors and speculators:

Wall Street bull photo by apauls

Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian's Tweet Pushes Golem Valuation Above $500 Million

A short tweet by Reddit co-founder and CEO Alexis Ohanian, sent the price of the Golem Network Token (GNT) to its highest level in two weeks on Tuesday, “Getting more and more intrigued by @golemproject,“ tweeted Ohanian to his 146k followers.

At press time, GNT is up close to 20 percent on the day at 0.000228 ($0.60). GNT’s exchange rate against bitcoin has been oscillating in a tight range since the end of May, hovering between 0.000176 and 0.00021:

And inflows into GNT have remained fairly balanced since the start of June, as investors eagerly await the release of Brass Golem, which allows CG artists to quickly render their works by renting out computing power from resource providers on the Golem network.

But Ohanian's "vote of confidence" in the Golem project, which has the potential to revolutionize the entire distributing computing industry with its P2P marketplace for computing power, was a sufficient catalyst to vault the price of GNT above 60 cents.

Cryptocurrency data portal shows that the market capitalization of GNT rose to a new record high of $516.8 million as a result of Ohanian's endorsement:

Canadian Dollar Strengthens After BoC Deputy Governor Hints at Tightening Monetary Stimulus

The Canadian dollar surged more than 1 percent against the greenback today after Carolyn Wilkins, Senior Deputy Governor at the Bank of Canada, said the current “significant monetary policy stimulus in the system” may be reduced, citing the ongoing recovery of the Canadian economy.

In today’s speech to The Associates of the Asper School of Business in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Wilkins said that the economy has adjusted to lower energy prices, “One sign of progress in adjusting to lower oil prices is the bounce-back in capital expenditures in the oil and gas sector,” she explained.

In addition to the uptick seen in the oil and gas industry, Wilkins also cited improvements in the Canadian labour market, as well as growth in other industries:
“The data show that more than 70 per cent of industries have been expanding and the labour market continues to improve.”
Despite the numerous upbeat economic signs, Wilkins also mentioned the persistent slack in the Canadian economy, saying it hampered the central bank’s efforts to raise the inflation rate to 2 percent.

Wilkins’ remarks come just 30 days ahead of Bank of Canada’s next interest rate decision and monetary policy report!

After Wilkins’ comments on monetary stimulus were made public via a Bloomberg report, the Canadian currency began to rally vigorously against the U.S. dollar. By the end of the New York currency trading session, the USD/CAD exchange rate had dropped to its lowest level since April 19th: 1.33245.

And during the opening hours of the Asian FX trading session, the CAD made further gains against the dollar, trading as high as 1.33126 at 7:50 p.m. EDT:

CAD banknote photo by Evan Bench

Millions of Ripple Tokens Go Missing From Clients' Accounts at CoinPayments

Canadian cryptocurrency payment solutions provider CoinPayments Inc., has reportedly begun informing some clients of a bug that made it possible for some users of the service to withdraw excessive amounts of Ripple (XRP) tokens from other users’ wallets.

In an email to affected clients, CoinPayments CEO Alex Alexandrov said the bug had been fixed:
“We have done a full review of our systems and added additional checks and protections to make sure similar issues don't occur in the future.”
According to Alexandrov's email, on June 5, 2017, some opportunistic CoinPayments users took advantage of an undiscovered bug to unjustly enrich themselves with XRP on deposit at other clients’ online wallets, “Their detailed personal information has been collected and they all have been contacted to return the funds immediately. We are in communication with some already and reclamation process has begun with the help of our lawyers.,” says the email communique sent to affected clients.

While CoinPayments claims some of the funds have been recovered, no official statement has been released by the company on the theft, or the exact number of users involved in the incident.

Many affected clients took to social media and popular forums to express their frustration and skepticism with CoinPayments’ statements:

A special Facebook group has been launched by victims considering a class action lawsuit against CoinPayments. Rukawa Kaede, a Ripple investor from Taiwan, said in a Facebook post that he had 2.45 million XRP tokens - approximately $685,989 at current exchange rates - removed from his CoinPayments account.

If legal maneuvers by CoinPayments’ legal team fail to recover the stolen XRP, CoinPayments said in their email that ¼ of the company’s revenue will go towards making victims whole:
“Additionally, we will dedicate 1/4 of our revenue flowing directly to effected users until we restore all of the missing value in their accounts. All coins recovered will be evenly distributed among all accounts effected as those come in.”

Code bug photo by Guilherme Tavares

British Pound Plunges as Early Exit Polls Suggest Conservatives Fail to Win 326 Seats

The British pound plunged close to 2.0 percent on Thursday afternoon after early UK exit polls showed Theresa May’s Conservative party gaining only 314 seats amid an unusually high voter turnout.

Early polls suggest that Conservatives may fail to get the needed majority - 326 seats - for a new mandate to advance Brexit negotiations and block a 2nd Scottish independence referendum.

George Osborne, former British finance minister, characterized the polls as “catastrophic” for May’s party, "It is early days. It's a poll. If the poll is anything like accurate this is completely catastrophic for the Conservatives and for Theresa May," he told ITV News, according to Reuters.

Prior to the exit polls, around 4:55 p.m. EDT, the pound was trading against the dollar at 1.2906, but after British news outlets began reporting on the surprise results, the GBP/USD pair sold off 1.94 percent in the space of ten minutes.

By 5:04 p.m., the rate between the pound and the dollar was hovering at a 2-month low of 1.2704! At press time, the pound has recovered some of the initial losses, trading at 1.2820 - up 0.90 percent:

Pound photo by Chris Potter, with modification by Razor-Forex.

Asian Investors, Fierce Mining Competition Leads Bitcoin to New Record Highs Above $2850

Bitcoin rallied on Monday night above the $2800 mark, eclipsing the previous all-time high of $2760, which was recorded on May 24, 2017. On European exchange Bitstamp, the digital currency was trading as high as $2877.47 USD at 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

It remains unclear what spurred investors to pile into bitcoin with so much gusto. However, volume data from indicates that Korean investors played a significant role in the recent rally.

Korean exchange Bithumb saw $68 million dollars - almost 4 percent of global cryptocurrency turnover - pass through its BTC/KRW trading pair over the past 24h. Bithumb’s volumes surpassed those of American & European exchanges. While major Chinese digital currency exchanges Huobi, BTCC and OKCoin, accounted for 8.6 percent of global bitcoin trading.

Additionally, bitcoin’s wild rally over the past two days may have been fueled by the recent mining difficulty adjustment. On June 4th, the competition between miners for new coins became even more heated after the mining difficulty jumped by 13.9 percent. This was the second-largest bump in mining difficulty since the start of the year!

The Bitcoin network automatically adjusts the mining difficulty number every two weeks to maintain a minting rate of 12.5 bitcoin every 10 minutes. And since the last adjustment on the 23rd of May, many new miners have entered the race to uncover more of the “digital gold.”

In fact, Blockchain statistics portal Bitcoin Wisdom estimates the next difficulty adjustment, which is scheduled sometime in mid-June, to be in the neighborhood of 14 percent.

Bitcoin miners image by ApolitikNow

Calls for Trump Impeachment Weigh on U.S. Dollar; Euro Appreciates 2.5% Against the USD

The euro extended its gains against the U.S. dollar on Friday, closing 0.87 percent higher on the day at 1.12056. The European currency also had its best week since the start of the year, gaining an impressive 2.5 percent since Monday.

The euro is now just 0.82 percent away from recovering all losses incurred since November 9th of 2016 - the day Trump was elected U.S. president.

While there weren’t any significant economic news releases coming out of Europe over the past five days, the euro’s exchange rate against the dollar was affected greatly this week by political uncertainty in the United States.

Calls for the impeachment of President Trump by some members of the Democratic National Committee; the constant barrage of news reports regarding the unexpected firing of FBI Directory James Comey by President Trump; as well as the intensifying investigation of Trump’s contacts with Russian officials during the election, took its toll on the U.S. dollar.

Including Friday’s losses, the U.S. Dollar Index (DXY) sustained losses of more than 2 percent this week. The DXY closed on Friday at its lowest level in 6-months: 97.21!

Euro banknotes photo by CostCalculator

Falling Dollar, Higher Japanese GDP Pushes Yen Exchange Rate To Highest Level in May

On Thursday morning, the Japanese yen traded at its highest level vs. the U.S. dollar since April 26, 2017. At 5:45 a.m. EDT, during the European trading session, the USD/JPY exchange rate briefly touched 110.239 - the highest rate for the Japanese yen in May.

Japan’s currency has strengthened considerably since the beginning of this week, mainly due to the weakening U.S. dollar, but also as a result of Wednesday’s Preliminary GDP print, which showed the Japanese economy growing at a rate of 0.5 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Analysts estimated that Japan’s Q1 GDP would come in at 0.4 percent!

News of the better-than-expected GDP data out of Japan, in addition to the falling U.S. Dollar Index, which dropped to 6-month lows (97.33) on Wednesday after odds of a Trump impeachment began to rise, gave the yen a considerable boost this week.

The yen saw its biggest surge on Wednesday, when the USD/JPY rate closed the day with a loss of approximately 2 percent - the biggest one-day gain for the yen since July 29, 2016:

While the Japanese yen was trading higher against the dollar in the early-morning hours, the yen's gains were mostly gone by 10:00 a.m., and by 1:30 p.m., the yen started to loose ground against the greenback. The yen closed on Thursday with a loss of 0.59 percent against the USD (111.483).

JPY banknote photo by Katy Ereira

Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Spikes to Record High in May; Number of Bitcoin ATMs Continues to Climb

While investors and the financial press have largely focused on Bitcoin’s blockbuster rally to record highs above $1700, much less attention has been devoted to the ever-increasing mining difficulty.

On Wednesday morning, the mining difficulty on the Bitcoin network underwent its 15th consecutive upward adjustment, rising 7.28 percent to a new all-time high, according to blockchain statistics site Bitcoin Wisdom.

This is the largest difficulty increase since January 22, 2017, when the difficulty jumped by 16.64 percent.

The mining difficulty adjusts every 2016 blocks - approximately every two weeks - in response to the amount of competition there is among miners. As more mining gear is deployed on the Bitcoin network, the difficulty is adjusted upwards to keep the rate of freshly minted blocks at 1 per 10 minutes.

Although the emission of Bitcoin remains steady after the difficulty is bumped up, the increased difficulty has a negative impact on how much coins go into the pockets of individual miners and mining pools.

Data from Bitcoin Wisdom also shows that between April 27th, the previous difficulty adjustment day, and May 10th, 271,988,635 GH/s (+6.8 percent) of additional mining power has been deployed.

At press time, Bitcoin Wisdom estimates the next difficulty hike, which is scheduled sometime between May 23-24, to be in the neighborhood of 8 percent. Of course this figure is likely to vary greatly over the next two weeks as mining capacity is added/subtracted.

While miners will have to compete even harder to mine new coins after today’s difficulty adjustment, the growing popularity of the Bitcoin brand has continued to fuel growth in the BTM (Bitcoin ATM) industry.

Consumers and investors around the globe can freely purchase Bitcoin with cash at 1170 BTMs across the globe, according to industry data by Coin ATM Radar. Last month, 42 new BTMs came online, and in the first eight days of May, 18 new machines were installed in gas stations and convenience stores in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Miner photo by Thawt Hawthje

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Bitcoin Rallies to Record Highs After "Pro-Blockchain" Macron Wins French Election

On Monday, the exchange rate of Bitcoin jumped above the $1600.00 mark for the 4th time since the beginning of May.

The digital currency was trading mostly under $1550 over the weekend, but a photo posted on various social media sites of newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron holding a Ledger Blue - a device for managing various digital currencies, manufactured by Paris-based Ledger - sparked a rally on Sunday evening.

The French President holding a Ledger Blue, showing his love for Bitcoin from Bitcoin

Although the photograph was taken in March of last year, according to CCN news, at an event sponsored by Cap Digital - a French non-profit organization focused on developing the digital/fintech industry in France - its popularity on sites like Reddit, where it received more than 1500 upvotes over the past 24h, had a sizable impact on Bitcoin’s price.

By 5:15 p.m. EDT on Monday, the BTC/USD rate on Luxembourg-based exchange Bitstamp had risen from $1525 to a new all-time high of $1642.00! While on Hong Kong-based exchange Bitfinex, the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency was trading as high as $1715.00 on Monday afternoon.

President Macron has not made any direct statements that endorse or approving any digital currency in the past, but he has previously shown interest towards this rapidly-growing industry.

In an interview with French news outlet Le Figaro in March of this year, Macron explained how blockchain technology could be applied in the French securities markets.

While France’s new president has yet to reveal his views on cryptocurrencies, and how they fit within existing financial regulations, the election of Emmanuel Macron is widely viewed within the digital currency community as a big net positive for the French fintech sector.

National Front party leader Marine Le Pen, who lost the election by getting only 33.9 percent of the French vote, has a much more hostile stance towards cryptocurrencies, “The National Front, well anchored in the real economy, recalls that a currency is a national public good entrusted to the sovereign people. Therefore, within the framework of the application of its model of economic patriotism, it will prevent the use of crypto-currencies, such as the Bitcoin in France.,” said Le Pen in a press release, released on May 26, 2016.

Graphic by Bitcoin payment solutions provider Bitwala

French flag photo by wisegie

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Canadian Dollar Snaps 10-Day Losing Streak After Canada's Unemployment Rate Drops to 6.5%

A rebound in oil prices on Friday, in addition to a better-than-expected unemployment rate figure for the month of April, finally snapped the Canadian dollar out of its 10-day losing streak, which began on April 21st.

The Canadian dollar began to strengthen after Statistics Canada said the unemployment rate in April had dropped by 0.2 percent to 6.5 percent, “the lowest since October of 2008.,” said the agency.

Additionally, Statistics Canada added that employment increased only in British Columbia (+11,000) and Prince Edward Island (800+). Employment in other provinces remained mostly unchanged, according to the Labour Force Survey.

But the CAD began to gain even more ground against the greenback as the price of crude oil rallied from $44.50 to $47.00 per barrel - a gain of more than 5% - by 11:00 a.m. EDT. Although the data from Statistics Canada gave the CAD a boost, Friday’s stunning reversal in crude oil futures was enough to send the USD/CAD rate under 1.37:

While the USD/CAD rate was hovering near a 1.37935 on Friday morning - the lowest rate in 15 months for the Canadian currency - by the end of the trading day, the pair was trading as low as 1.36424.

During today’s trading session, the CAD gained 0.73 against the U.S. dollar to close at 1.36491.

CAD banknotes photo by Carissa Rogers

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Litecoin Market Capitalization Rockets Above $1 Billion USD After Coinbase Announcement

On Wednesday, Litecoin (LTC) became the fourth most valuable cryptocurrency in the world , vaulting to a record valuation of $1.05 billion. Speculative and investment capital poured into Litecoin after U.S.-based exchange Coinbase formally announced support for the digital currency on Wednesday morning.

Ankur Nandwani, product manager at Coinbase, said the integration of LTC is part of the company’s strategy to gradually expand its offering of cryptocurrency trading pairs, "This is part of our shift to supporting more types of digital assets over the coming year.,” writes Nandwani.

“At Coinbase, our mission is to create an open financial system for the world.,” he adds.

While Litecoin posted double-digit percentage gains in March (106.16%) and April (78.10%), today’s news sent the LTC/BTC exchange rate to its highest level in 21 months.

At 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, the Litecoin/Bitcoin exchange rate went as high as 0.015 on Poloniex. And on Coinbase’s GDAX exchange, the LTC/USD rate surged 123 percent:

GDAX charts show investors/speculators were willing to pay up to $36.00 per Litecoin!

On other popular exchanges such as Kraken and Bulgaria-based BTC-E, LTC/USD rates went as high as $22.46 and $19.80, respectively.

Golden bull graphic by Pictures of Money

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8-Day Losing Streak Plunges Canadian Dollar to 15-Month Low Vs. the USD

The Canadian dollar started the first week of May by incurring additional losses against its American counterpart, the U.S. dollar. Since Monday, the CAD has added another 0.77 percent of losses to April’s 2.5 percent decline against the USD.

And on Tuesday morning (11:30 a.m. EST), Canada’s currency traded at its lowest level vs. the greenback since February 25, 2016: 1.37575!

Tuesday's losses also mark an 8-day losing streak for the Canadian dollar, which has taken away approximately 1.75 percent of the CAD's value:

The current losing streak is one of the longest on record - second only to the 12-day losing streak in January of 2016 that pushed the USD/CAD rate to 1.4600.

Last month’s aggressive moves by the Trump administration on Canadian trade policy
weighted heavily on Canada’s currency, which hit a 14-month low on April 25th, after the U.S. Department of Commerce slapped a 20% tariff on Canadian softwood lumber imports into the United States.

But the CAD’s losses in the first two days of May are mainly a result of ongoing weakness in the energy markets, particularly the price of crude oil, which has fallen close to 3.5 percent since May 1, 2017.

Today, the price crude oil traded as low as $47.69 per barrel - lowest price since the end of March.

Torn Canadian flag photo by Graham Ballantyne

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Bitcoin Exchange Rate Against Canadian Dollar Inches Closer to $2000; Ethereum Valuation Jumps Above $7 Billion USD

The price of bitcoin rose sharply on Monday against every major currency; on European exchange Bitstamp, the BTC/USD rate surged to an all-time high of $1425.00; and on Canadian exchange QuadrigaCX, the digital currency traded against the Canadian dollar at a record high of $1980:

And on U.S.-based exchange Kraken, which has the highest-volume BTC/EUR pair in the world, bitcoin traded on Monday at a new all-time high of €1290.00.

Bitcoin’s exchange rate vs. the U.S. dollar on one of Asia’s top exchanges by volume, Bitfinex, rose to a record $1548.00 today.

However, international Bitfinex clients have been unable to withdraw fiat currency from Bitfinex since the beginning of April, when Wells Fargo & Company refused to process outgoing wires transfers from Bitfinex’s banking partners in Taiwan.

And there is rampant speculation on Reddit that Bitfinex’s $120+ premium over other exchanges is a direct result of nervous Bitfinex clients panic-buying bitcoin to get their assets out of the exchange:

Additionally, since the end of March, Bitfinex’s bitcoin reserves have declined by 50 percent.

Monday’s stunning bitcoin rally comes on the same day as ether, token of the Ethereum blockchain and the second-most valuable digital currency in the world, reached record highs of $81.30.

While ether’s meteoric rise above $80 pushed the market value of the digital token above $7 billion, many other Ethereum-based tokens like GNT (token of the Golem decentralized computation network) and REP (token of the Augur decentralized prediction market), also rose to record valuations over the weekend.

According to charts from, GNT’s market cap hit $198.22 million on April 30th, and the market capitalization of the REP token rose to $206.74 million on Monday, May 1, 2017.

At press time, the combined market valuation of all digital currencies stands at $37.77 billion!

1000 CAD graphic by Brian.Ch

Surge in Bitcoin & Ethereum Lifts Market Capitalization of Cryptocurrency Ecosystem to Record $33.1 Billion

Bitcoin’s exchange rate against the U.S. dollar and the euro rose near previous all-time highs on Thursday. The BTC/USD rate on European exchange Bitstamp went as high as $1342 by 4:45 p.m. EST.

And on U.S.-based exchange Kraken, which has the highest volume BTC/EUR pair, the price of the world’s most popular digital currency rallied to €1224.57 on Thursday afternoon.

While on Coinbase’s GDAX exchange, rising investor interest pushed the BTC/GBP exchange rate to a 47-day high of £1045.00.

This week's rise has been chalked up to a variety of fundamental & technical factors by cryptocurrency analysts and users.

But Bitcoin’s exchange rate began to rise sharply on Tuesday after multiple news outlets began reporting on Bats BZX Exchange’s SEC petition - filed on Monday - asking the agency to re-evaluate its decision to reject of the Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF.

Other digital currencies saw record-breaking rallies on Tuesday as well. The value of Ether, token of the second-most valuable blockchain network in the world, Ethereum, jumped by 17 percent on Thursday to a record high of $63.00, according to market data from Kraken exchange.

Ether’s rally also lifted the market value of the Ethereum blockchain to a new record of $5.57 billion - approximately one quarter of Bitcoin market valuation of $21.5 billion. estimates that Thursday’s tremendous rallies in the world’s top digital currencies, lifted the market capitalization of the entire ecosystem to a new all-time high of $33.1 billion:

Bitcoin/Ether photo by BTC Keychain

Trump's Upcoming Executive Order on NAFTA Sinks Mexican Peso to 19.3 Against the USD

The Mexican peso dropped more than 2 percent on Wednesday as reports began to surface of a new Trump executive order that would withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

An official at the White House said the executive order is currently being reviewed and could be officially announced over the next few days, according to a report by Politico.

There is speculation the executive order may just be a clever tactic employed by Trump to get Mexico and Canada to renegotiate the NAFTA agreement, which the president has previously called “one of the worst trade deals ever made,” but the order may also trigger a specific clause that allows a party to exit NAFTA within six months of providing a written notice.

While the Mexican peso had already lost approximately 2 percent of its value since the start of the week, partly due to Trump’s new Tweets concerning the wall on the border with Mexico, today’s developments sent the peso to its lowest rate against the USD since mid-March.

By 12:45 p.m. EST on Wednesday, the USD/MXN exchange rate climbed from 18.8645 - where it was trading at the start of the day - all the way to 19.29604; a decline of 2.30 percent on the day for the Mexican currency:

News of Trump’s looming NAFTA order also impacted the Canadian dollar, which dropped about 0.5 percent during the overlap of the NY & London currency trading session on Wednesday.

Peso banknote photo by Christian Ramiro González

Looming US-Canada Trade War Knocks Down Canadian Dollar to 14-Month Lows

Canada’s currency slid to a 14-month low in Tuesday after U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced a 20% tariff on Canadian softwood lumber imports, valued at $5.66 billion USD, or 1% of Canadian GDP.

Tensions were ratcheted up even further on Tuesday when President Trump accused Canada of crippling the dairy industry in Wisconsin, “Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very difficult. We will not stand for this. Watch!,” said Trump on Twitter.

Trump’s sharp comments also prompted a stern response from Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who spoke on Tuesday at Ontario-based software company, Vidyard.

As the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) reports, when asked about America’s protectionist trade policies under the Trump administration, Trudeau said:
"Standing up for Canada's interests is what my job is, whether it's softwood or software."
But Trump's increasingly aggressive rhetoric on Canadian trade and NAFTA renegotiation, in addition to slumping crude oil prices, which slipped under the $50 mark for a second time this year on Tuesday, have taken a heavy toll on the Canadian dollar.

The USD/CAD exchange rate hoovered just under 1.35 on Monday, but by 11:30 a.m. EST on Tuesday morning, the exchange rate had drifted all the way to 1.36265 - the lowest level for the CAD since February 26, 2016!

And since April 13th, when the Canadian dollar was trading at a 2-month high of 1.32239 vs. the USD, the CAD has depreciated by 3%:

CAD notes photo by Sara Long

Macron Win in Round 1 of French Election Sends Euro to 5-Month Highs

Early results from the French presidential election pushed the euro in early trading on Sunday to its highest level since November 11, 2016. At the open of the Asian currency trading session, the EUR/USD exchange rate hit a 5-month high of 1.09238 - 1.85 percent higher than Friday’s close at 1.07231:

The euro strengthened considerably against the U.S. dollar when the French Interior Ministry vote counts showed pro-EU, independent centrist Emmanuel Macron in the lead with more than 23 percent of the vote.

Optimism among investors and market participants increased even further when rival candidates from the establishment parties - Benoit Hamon, Bernard Cazeneuve and Francois Fillon - urged their supporters to back Macron, saying Le Pen’s anti-EU policies will have very negative consequences for France.

In a victory speech, Macron said:
"I want to be the president of patriots in the face of a threat from nationalists."
While Marcon’s victory has energized his base, the 39-year-old ex-banker and political novice still needs to overcome the National Front’s Marine Le Pen in the runoff election during the next two weeks, to become the youngest leader of France since Napoleon.

And as Reuters reports, a new servey by Harris puts the likelyhood of Macron becoming the next French president at 64 percent.

Other major national currencies also posted significant gains due to Macron’s victory on Sunday; the Japanese yen traded as high as 110.631 against the USD - 1.44 percent higher than Friday’s rate; the Australian dollar jumped 0.4 percent against the USD; the British pound jumped higher by 0.26 percent.

EU banknote photo by Images Money

Global LTC Roundtable Meeting Sends Litecoin to 3-year High at $14.42

News of a new agreement among the largest Litecoin mining pools and exchanges concerning the ‘Segregated Witness’ protocol upgrade, held on Friday, sent the price if the digital currency soaring to a 3-year high.

On San Francisco-based exchange Kraken, Litecoin was trading as high as $14.42 at 2:00 p.m. EST on Saturday - the highest price since March 30, 2014:

While on Poloniex, a digital currency exchange based out of Delaware, USA, the LTC/BTC exchange rate climbed to a 17-month high of 0.0117599.

The rising tide of investment capital pouring into Litecoin could also be observed by looking at volumes on Poloniex, the mostly popular cryptocurrency exchange.

Over the past 24h, almost 15 percent ($34.7 million) of global digital currency turnover took place on the Poloniex LTC/BTC pair, according to data compiled by

The statement issued by the Global LTC Roundtable Meeting - which saw participation from the largest cryptocurrency mining equipment manufacturer, Bitman, founder of Litecoin, Charlie Lee, and Chinese exchanges Huobi and OKCoin, among others - said there is unanimous agreement on implementing Segregated Witness via a softfork.

However, the document also states that Litecoin block capacity, which is currently limited to 1MB, will need be lifted at some point in the future:
“When the usage of Litecoin block capacity is over 50%, we will start to prepare for a solution to increase the 1MB block size limit through a hardfork or softfork.”
Large Chinese mining pools like, which were opposing SegWit prior to Friday’s meeting, began to show their support today by mining SegWit-signaling blocks on the Litecoin network.

ViaBTC, a Litecoin mining pool based in Shenzhen that has vehemently opposed SegWit on Bitcoin & Litecoin, saying it was an inadequate scaling solution because it didn’t effectively increase the block size limit, voiced support for implementing SegWit on Litecoin this morning on Twitter:

While the majority of Litecoin supporters and users praised Friday’s agreement, many pro-SegWit Bitcoin evangelists like Andreas Antonopoulos, who has been keeping a close eye on the recent drama surrounding SegWit activation on Litecoin, expressed concern about the centralized decision-making at the Global LTC Roundtable Meeting:

With the newly found support, the Segregated Witness upgrade is very likely to go live sometime in mid-May.

Declining Oil Prices Bite Into the Canadian Dollar; USD/CAD Exchange Rate Nears 1.35 For Second Time in 2017

While the Canada's currency briefly traded at 2-month highs towards the end of last week, falling oil prices pushed the Canadian dollar today to its lowest level since March 13th. During the overlap between the New York London Forex trading session on Thursday - at approximately 10:45 a.m. EST - the USD/CAD rate hit a 38-day high of 1.35004.

But by 11:30 a.m., the pair was trading under 1.3460, and the CAD had recouped all of Thursday morning's losses:

Although the Canadian dollar finished on Thursday with a small gain of 0.1 percent against the USD, it still hasn’t recouped losses incurred since the start of the week. In fact, since Tuesday - including today’s small gain - the Canadian dollar has depreciated by more than 1 percent.

And when measured against last Thursday's 2-month high of 1.32239, the CAD has lost close to 1.85 percent of its value.

The CAD sustained its biggest drop on Wednesday of this week, when the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported the first buildup of gasoline supplies since February of this year.

News of the gasoline stockpile cause speculators to fear that demand for oil may decline over the next several weeks as refineries taper their oil purchases, said Fox Business.

EIA’s report crashed the price of light crude oil futures by $2.34 to $50.51 a barrel (4.42 percent) in the space of several hours, which pushed Canadian dollar lower by 0.78 percent by the close of Wednesday’s New York currency trading session:

The CAD was also weighted down today as the price of oil remained under continues selling pressure, trading as low as $50.50.

Volatility in the USD/CAD rate is set to spike again on Friday as currency traders are eagerly awaiting the release of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) reading for the month of March. Analysts are forecasting Canada’s CPI for March to increase by 0.4 percent.

CAD banknotes photo by Eric L

Factom Market Valuation Jumps to Record $63 Million Following New Series A Funding Round

The digital currency token of blockchain as-a-service (BaaS) startup Factom, Inc., rose above $7.00 on Wednesday.

Investor interest in Factom’s tokens rose this week after the Texas-based startup, which utilizes blockchain technology to provide immutable storage of records in the medical and mortgage industries, completed a new Series A funding round on Tuesday to the tune of $8 million.

Factom’s new funding round saw participation from early investors like Draper Associates, Stewart Tile, Overstock and others, who injected a combined total of $5,326,522 USD into the promising startup.

“Now, Peeli Ventures, Harvest Equity, and a number of local Austin investors added another $2,703,274 USD, closing out the funding round.,” said Factom’s press release.

News of the new funding round sent the FCT/BTC exchange rate to an 8-month high of 0.006274 on Tuesday afternoon:

And according to charts from CoinMarketCap, the market capitalization of FCT rose on Wednesday to an all-time high of $63.3 million - almost doubling from the previous high of $33.4 million on August 29, 2016: