Tickmill Becomes Latest Forex Broker to Offer Bitcoin CFDs

Retail FX, CFDs and precious metals broker Tickmill began its foray into the cryptocurrency space this week with a new Bitcoin CFD offering. In an email to all clients sent out yesterday, Tickmill said:
“Bitcoin has joined our growing list of trading instruments, offering you the chance to invest in one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies while enjoying our competitive trading conditions.”
While the cryptocurrecy markets trade 24/7, Tickmill’s Bitcoin/USD CFD pair will trade 24/5, and traders will be limited to maximum leverage of 1:20.

Tickmill is the latest Forex broker to start offering bitcoin trading pairs, following in the footsteps of other well-known brokers like FXOpen, who recently began offering CFDs on six major cryptocurrencies to clients registered with its branch in the United Kingdom.

British Retail Forex Broker FXOpen UK Launches CFD Pairs on Major Cryptocurrencies

FXOpen UK, the FCA-regulated, London-based division of popular retail brokerage FXOpen, announced yesterday that all clients will be allowed to trade a select number cryptocurrencies as CFDs with a maximum leverage of 1:3:
"Cryptocurrencies can experience very high volatility and trade 7 days a week. Leverage is limited to 1:3 for all clients."
While clients of FXOpen.com, the Nevis-registered and regulated division of FXOpen, have had the ability to deposit, withdraw and trade the major cryptocurrencies since 2014, clients registered with FXOpen UK were previously unable to trade digital currencies like Bitcoin & Litecoin.

According to FXOpen UK, clients can now trade six cryptos (Bitcoin, Litecoin, Emercoin, Namecoin, Peercoin and DASH) against each other and other national currencies like the USD, EUR, CNY and GBP.

The initial rollout includes a total of 24 different trading pairs. Russian ruble crypto-pairs are also available!

And unlike traditional FX pairs, clients at FXOpen UK will be able to trader on these pairs 24/7.

Payza Launches New Cryptocurrency Address Manager for Bitcoin

Payza, a UK-based online payments platform with more than 13 million clients, launched its new Cryptocurrency Address Manager (CAM) today. Payza said the new service allows all clients to generate and use new Bitcoin addresses on the fly:
"These are multi-use addresses that can be used to receive Bitcoin from other Bitcoin wallets without first having to set up an Add Funds by Bitcoin transaction."
Each Payza customer will be allowed to have a maximum of 50 cryptocurrency addresses at a time. While the new functionality is only accessible via the desktop Payza platform at launch, the company said its mobile app will also be equipped with the CAM in the near future.

Additionally, Payza said on its blog that it plans to add support for other cryptocurencies "in upcoming releases."

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Trading Begins on South Korea's Biggest Exchange, Bithumb - Investors Price BCH North of $500

Bitcoin Cash (BCH), the new digital currency that split from the main Bitcoin network on August 1, made its debut today on South Korea’s largest exchange, Bithumb. In early trading, South Korean speculators and investors pushed BCH to a daily high of 959,000 KRW, or approximately $850.00 at current exchange rates.

At press time, BCH is trading on Bithumb at an effective USD price of $571, which is more than double the exchange rates currently quoted on Bitfinex, Bittrex, ViaBTC and HitBTC.

While BCH training has been active for several hour now on Bithumb, the higher prices could be due to the fact that deposits and withdrawals are still disabled.

Bithumb said in a statement today that Bitcoin Cash transfers will be allowed at some point, but no details were given, “The opening date of Bitcoin Cash(BCH) deposit/withdrawal service will be given through further notification.,” said Bithumb.

Moreover, Bithumb's BCH/KRW pair has seen $96 million in turnover so far today! For comparison, the combined 24h BCH volume of Bittrex, Bitfinex, HitBTC and Kraken, comes out to $82 million.

Korean Exchange Bithumb Says New Bitcoin Cash Trading Schedule to be Released

Bithumb, Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, will be giving its clients 0-fee trading for 24h in tandem with the launch of Bitcoin Cash trading pairs. In today’s blog post, Bithumb said the promotion will only run for two days:
“Fee Free Event will be running from August 3rd (Thurs) 18:00 KST to August 4th (Fri) 18:00 KST”
Additionally, Bithumb stated that Bitcoin Cash will have the “BCH” ticker, and not “BCC,” which is currently used by Bittrex, HitBTC, BitBay and Bleutrade.

Bithumb previously said that Bitcoin Cash trading will begin on August 3, but today, Bithumb explained that a new opening schedule will be released on Friday, August 4, 2017. The Korean exchange also said that trading, deposits and withdrawals of Bitcoin Cash have been delayed due to the unstable production rate of new blocks on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain:
“Up until August 3rd 12:00 KST, Bitcoin Cash has been showing instability on the block production or even on the deposit/withdrawal.”
Although miners on the Bitcoin Cash network produced only three blocks on August 1st, as the special mining difficulty reduction algorithm was not activated, the rate of new blocks has picked up greatly over the past two days.

So far today, 19 new blocks have been found, and yesterday, miners produced 10 new blocks as the difficulty dropped off substantially, according to data from Blockdozer.com. At press time, the Bitcoin Cash blockchain is running at a quarter of the main blockchain's difficulty.

Majority of exchanges have already opened up Bitcoin Cash trading, however, many of BCH-supporting exchanges also made the decision to block traders depositing new coins until new blocks are found at a steadier pace.

At press time, the Bitcoin Cash blockchain is valued at $7.1 billion, according to CoinMarketCap, and one BCH will set you back about $433.

Bitcoin Cash Climbs to $300 on Bittrex and Kraken After Successful Split From the Bitcoin Chain

The Bitcoin Cash/Bitcoin pair opened at a 0.003 today on American exchange Bittrex. But just an hour after the launch, Bitcoin Cash climbed to a daily high of 0.14789 against Bitcoin. While on HitBTC, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is currently trading as high as $360.

Social media and Reddit forums were rife with speculation that the value of Bitcoin Cash would crash to $0 at launch, as existing Bitcoin holders would dump their BCH holdings. But those theories were proven wrong today as investors on Bittrex and Kraken snapped up the cheaper BCH coins.

Although there are great discrepancies at this time between BCH exchange rates on different trading venues due to thin liquidity, Bittrex's BCC/BTC trading pair has the most volume so far today, beating Kraken's BCH/BTC pair by about $2 million.

At press time, the Bittrex BCC/BTC pair has seen 2997 BTC ($8.26 million) in Bitcoin Cash trades in the first 2.4 hours.

Since the Bitcoin Cash exchange rate on Bittrex is currently hovering at 0.1087, the most accurate price for Bitcoin Cash in dollars would be approximately $298.925.

'Bitcoin Cash' Receiving More Support Ahead of Launch From Asian Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Another major South Korean exchange announced support for Bitcoin Cash (BCC) today. Seoul-based Korbit said in a blog post on Tumbr that all clients will get BCC at a ratio of 1:1 to their Bitcoin deposits at the time of the fork, which is scheduled for August 1.

And just like Bithumb, Korbit states that all clients will be able to trade BCC a few days after the fork, when the BCC chain is stable.

A similar attitude towards BCC was also adopted by Huobi, one of China's largest exchanges by volume. In today's statement, Huobi said its clients will automatically receive free BCC coins after the fork. Additionally, Huobi said that trading of BCC will commence after "another announcement around August 1,2017."

While many Asian exchanges have already expresses support for the new Bitcoin fork, European and American exchanges/services have not been so welcoming. Bitrefill, a service that enables clients to top up their prepaid phones with bitcoin, said today that BCC will not be supported:
"We don’t have any plans to support Bitcoin Cash as a currency. Our limited engineering resources are currently being prioritized to supporting SegWit and Lightning Network transactions once those things become available."
Bitrefill also said that any BCC in company possession after the fork will be sold off on exchanges and redistributed back to clients.

Bitcoin is Spreading Its Roots Across the African Continent - Trading Volumes on the Rise in Tanzania and Nigeria

Recent data from Coin.dance, a blockchain information portal that provides up-to-date metrics on various sectors of the Bitcoin ecosystem, suggest interest in the digital currency is rising in Tanzania and Nigeria.

Coin.dance charts show weekly LocalBitcoins volume has been on the rise in both countires since the beginning of July.

During the second week of July, there was a total of 83 million Tanzanian shillings (TZS) worth of trades on LocalBitcoins in Tanzania.

When converted into USD, the 83 million TZS comes out to $37,142. And in Nigeria, weekly turnover for the third week of July hit a new record high at 971,829,166 Nigerian naira ($3 million):

Of course the Tanzanian volumes pale in comparison to the weekly LocalBitcoins figures in other African countries like Nigeria and Kenya, however, the numbers coming out of Tanzania this month are indicating that Bitcoin is continuing to spread its roots across the African continent.

In terms of the actual amount of bitcoin that changed hands, Coin.dance says that Tanzanians exchanged about 14 BTC in the second week of July, and 9 BTC last week:

Tanzanian flag image by Nicolas Raymond, Bitcoin graphic by Razor-Forex

Florida Bitcoin Company Enables DASH Transactions on 8 of Its Bitcoin ATMs

ByteFederal, a digital currency ATM operator based in Florida, has enabled DASH transactions on eight of its BTMs (Bitcoin teller machines) located in Florida.

More recently, BitcoinNW, a cryptocurrency ATM company in Oregon, launched its third DASH ATM in Oregon last month.

But unlike BitcoinNW, ByteFederal's ATMs charges a hefty 14.8% markup and only allow for fiat-to-crypto operations. With the new additions by BitcoinNM and ByteFederal, the digital currency DASH now has a total of 13 active ATMs within the U.S.

BitcoinNW Launches 3rd DASH Crypto ATM in Oregon

BitcoinNW, a Portland-based digital currency ATM operator, recently installed its third DASH-dispensing cryptocurrency teller machine in the State of Oregon.

Mike Fors, Bitcoin evangelist and founder of BitcoinNW, said on Twitter the new two-way General Bytes machine, which also supports Litecoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin, was installed inside the Salem Center Mall, in the City of Salem:

According to industry portal CoinArmRadar.com, BitcoinNW’s new machine sports some of the lowest fees in the United States: buyers pay a 4.8% fee, while sellers are charged a fee of 5.6%.

By comparison, the two Bitcoin D.A.V.E. DASH ATMs in New York City, operated by Hermes Limited, charge fees of up to 9%. Oregonians are allowed to buy and sell up to $1000 worth of DASH without presenting any identification documents!

BitcoinNW’s other DASH ATMs are installed in Springfield and Portland.

Oregon flag photo by Nicolas Raymond

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, managed to break the GNT/BTC rate out of its sideways channel.

Cryptocurrency data portal CoinMarketCap.com 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 CoinMarketCap.com 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

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 CoinMarketCap.com, 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.

CoinMarketCap.com 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