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:

British Pound Rises to 6-Month High After Theresa May's Unexpected Call for an Election in June

Foreign currency markets were shocked on Monday after United Kingdom P.M. Theresa May called for a snap general election in June, citing ongoing disagreements within Westminster regarding Brexit negotiations, “At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division.,” said May in her address.

"The country is coming together, but Westminster is not.,” she added.

In her speech, May laid the blame squarely on Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, The Liberal Democrats and The Scottish National Party:
"In recent weeks Labour has threatened to vote against the deal we reach with the European Union. The Liberal Democrats have said they want to grind the business of government to a standstill.”
Theresa May will need a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons tomorrow to schedule a general election for June 8th, 2017.

According to a poll conducted by British news outlet, The Telegraph, May’s Conservative Party received 62 percent support, with Labour getting 9 percent and The Liberal Democrats receiving 12 percent ; 5264 votes were cast in total.

In a separate poll conducted by The Telegraph, 24k out of 29.6k participants - approximately 82 percent - said they approved of May’s decision. And judging my the reaction of the currency markets today, it would seem that investors and market participants are in favor of a new election.

May’s announcement caused the British pound to surge more than 2.70 percent on Monday to a 6-month high.

Although the pound began trading on Monday morning around 1.25655 against the U.S. dollar, by 1:30 p.m. EST, the unexpected political developments in the UK had sent the GBP/USD exchange rate to its highest level since October 3rd of last year: 1.29074:

GBP notes photo by Images Money

Mexican Peso Trades to Highest Level in 2017 Against USD on Positive Comments by Banxico, Falling U.S.Retail Sales

Mexico’s peso rose 0.3 percent on Friday to a new high for 2017. The peso began Friday’s trading session at 18.58308 - about 0.36 percent above Thursday’s low. But by 10:45 a.m. EST on Friday, the USD/MXN exchange rate slid to its lowest level so far this year: 18.49637!

Today weakness in the USD/MXN rate was also influenced in part by poor economic data coming out of the United States. More specifically, falling retail sales and consumers price index readings for March, which posted declines of 0.2 and 0.3 percent, respectively.

While volatility in the USD/MXN rate was rather subdued today as most large European and Canadian markets remained closed for Good Friday, the majority of the peso’s gains were made earlier in the week.

On Wednesday, the Mexican peso appreciated by 1.2 percent after the Mexican central bank, Banxico, released the minutes of its monetary policy meeting for March.

Banxico’s report said the situation in Mexican financial markets had improved considerably after the last interest rate increase at the end of March, when the Board of Governors of the Bank of Mexico voted to hike rates by 25 basis points, “In the weeks after the final decision of monetary policy of the Bank of Mexico, the financial markets in our country showed favorable behavior.,“ the report states.

Banxico also said:
“Thus, the Mexican peso presented an appreciation of 7.8 per cent, standing out as the currency with the best performance observed within the complex of currencies of emerging countries, which was accompanied by a significant improvement in the conditions of operation of the foreign exchange market.”
Although Mexico's currency traded at its highest level for this year on Friday morning, it couldn’t hold onto those gains into the close of the day. The USD/MXN Forex pair closed at 18.52035 - approximately 0.13 percent higher than the morning lows of 18.49637:

Pesos photo by Mad African

Canadian Dollar Briefly Trades at 2-Month High Following Trump's “Strong Dollar” Comments

The exchange rate between the American and Canadian dollar slid to a 2-month low of 1.32239 on Thursday. Weakness in the USD/CAD pair was mainly a result of President Trump’s comments on the negative impact the “strong dollar” is having on the American economy.

"It's very, very hard to compete when you have a strong dollar and other countries are devaluing their currency," Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

"I think our dollar is getting too strong, and partially that's my fault because people have confidence in me," he added.

Trump’s remarks pushed the U.S. Dollar Index down by 0.75 percent yesterday to its lowest rate in April.

The weakness in the greenback also heavily influenced the USD/CAD rate, which dropped 0.74 percent by the start of Thursday’s Asian FX trading session.

While the Canadian dollar was briefly trading today at a level not seen since February 28th, most of the CAD’s gains were wiped out on Thursday during the NY/London Forex session, as the U.S. dollar recovered a sizable portion of losses incurred on Wednesday.

At press time, the USD/CAD rate is trading around 1.3311 - just 0.1 percent below where it was trading prior to Trump’s comments.

CAD banknotes photo by Diego Torres Silvestre

Cryptocurrency Litecoin Tops $12 on Renewed Optimism for SegWit Upgrade

The digital currency Litecoin (LTC) topped $12 on Wednesday after several mining pools began showing support for the Segregated Witness (SegWit) upgrade. Shenzhen-based pool, which accounts for 5.8 percent (160 GH/s) of mining capacity on the Litecoin network, according to estimates by LitecoinPool, mined its first SegWit-signaling block on Tuesday night.

Litecoin founder, Charlie Lee, made the announcement on Twitter:

In addition to BW, Multipool, a cryptocurrency mining pool based out of California that supports several alternative digital currencies, also began signaling support for SegWit on Wednesday.

Although miners’ support for the upgrade surpassed the needed 75 percent threshold today - 79.51 percent at press time - this support has to be maintained for the next two weeks before SegWit activation occurs on the Litecoin network.

Assuming everything goes according to plan within the next 30 days, Litecoin will be one of the first major alternative digital currencies to successfully implement SegWit, according to Charlie Lee on Twitter.

But not all Litecoin miners are on the same page when it comes to the potential benefits offered by the SegWith upgrade.

For instance, several large Litecoin mining pools like Antpool and LTC1BTC - 2nd largest pool with 14.2 percent of all mining capacity on the Litecoin network - have refused to signal support for SegWit, and have even been accused by many within the Litecoin community of stalling progress by adding additional mining power to push the threshold under 75 percent at opportune times.

While it remains to be seen if such tactics are deployed over the next two weeks, investor interest in Litecoin has already risen dramatically.

Data from CoinMarketCap shows that volume on Poloniex’s LTC/BTC pair accounts for 15 percent ($42,642,900) of global Bitcoin turnover over the past 24h, surpassing even Bitfinex’s BTC/USD pair, which usually receives the largest chunk of daily turnover:

At the height of today’s SegWit-fueled rally, the LTC/BTC exchange rate hit a 6-day high of 0.010 11 on U.S.-based exchange Poloniex, while the LTC/USD rate rose to a 6-day high of $12.318 on Hong Kong-based exchange Bitfinex.

LTC 3D graphic by BTC Keychain

Japanese Yen Surges to Record Highs Against USD for 2017

The USD/JPY exchange rate fell to its lowest level since November 18, 2016, during Tuesday’s NY/London FX trading session.

The weakness in the pair was mainly driven by a declining U.S. Dollar Index, which dropped 0.25 percent on Tuesday due to a positive JOLTS job openings print for February.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said 5.7 million job openings were available in the country on the last day of February, 2017, beating analysts’ expectations of 5.59 million:
“Job openings increased in a number of industries, with the largest changes occurring in health care and social assistance (+73,000), accommodation and food services (+66,000), and finance and insurance (+47,000). Job openings decreased in real estate and rental and leasing (-63,000) and mining and logging (-7,000).“
The better-than-expected figure, which was released at 10:00 a.m. EST, sent the U.S. Dollar Index (DXY) as low as 100.58 on the day, erasing most of the gains the DXY had made since last Friday, when the U.S. unemployment rate hit a 9-year low:

The negative impact on the DXY from the JOLTS news could also be directly observed on the USD/JPY rate, which slid to its lowest rate in 2017 - 109.53 yen per dollar - by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

Additionally, today's BLS release provided the necessary catalyst to pushe the USD/JPY rate under 110.20 - an important psychological level which the market has been unable to break since the end of March:

JPY banknote photo by Richard Cawood

Rising Canadian Housing Starts & Higher Oil Prices Lift the Canadian Dollar

Higher housing starts for the month of March, which were release at 8:15 a.m. EST, pushed the Canadian dollar higher by 0.58 percent on Monday.

Data from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) showed March housing starts coming in at 211,342.

CMHC Chief Economist Bob Dugan said last month’s housing number is the highest since September of 2007.

While Vancouver housing starts in March were lower for a fourth consecutive month, the actual number of housing starts in the province was at the “highest level on record for March since 1972, driven by new apartment construction.,” according to the CMHC.

The biggest gains were seen in the Toronto real estate market, which showed increases last month in all housing types, with apartment starts showing the biggest trend growth in March:
“Demand for new housing is growing as supply in the rental and resale markets is short, reflected by low rental apartment vacancy rates and declining active listings.”
Although better-than-expected Canadian housing figures pushed USD/CAD exchange rate under 1.3375 on Monday morning, the Canadian currency also received a sizable boost from the rising price of crude oil, which closed at a 33-day high of $53.08 today.

Monday’s crude oil rally pushed the Canadian dollar to finish the day at a 5-day high of 1.33272 against the USD:

CAD banknotes photo by KMR Photography

Euro Exchange Rate Drops Under 1.06 as U.S. Unemployment Rate Falls to 9-Year Low

The euro dropped under the 1.06 mark on Friday, hitting a 25-day low of 1.05804 against the U.S. dollar. The last time the euro traded this low was on March 10, 2017.

The drop in the EUR/USD exchange rate was mainly driven by economic data coming out of the United States, which pushed the USD higher on Friday:

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Friday morning that non-farm employment in the United States had grown by 98,000 last month, pushing the official unemployment rate down to 4.5 percent - the lowest reading since April of 2007.

Although the agency's report showed positive job growth in March, the number came in much lower than analysts’ estimates of 174,000 jobs. According to the press release, the American economy added 56,000+ jobs in business services and 11,000+ positions in mining, however, the retail sector saw declines of 30,000+ jobs:
“Employment in general merchandise stores declined by 35,000 in March and has declined by 89,000 since a recent high in October 2016.“
Key Highlights:

-Healthcare sector: 14,000+
-Financial sector: 9,000+
-Construction: 6000+
-Manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation, leisure, government and warehousing: little or no change.
-Average workweek for private non-farm payrolls: 34.3 hours

The U.S. Dollar Index rallied after the BLS report, breaking above Wednesday’s high decisively and rising to a 22-day high of 101.26:

Euro coin photo by killerturnip

Trump's Syrian Airstrikes Push Gold, Silver and Oil Higher; Russian Ruble Dips 1.7%

The prices of gold and oil surged on Thursday night as U.S. forces launched airstrikes on a military installation in Syria from which Syrian dictator, Bashar al Assad, recently launched chemical attacks on civilians in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Province.

In an address to the nation, President Trump said the strikes were a response to the Syrian government’s reckless abandon of the chemical weapons convention, “It was a slow and brutal death for so many, even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.,” he added.

Gold rallied 1.47 percent in the space of two hours, hitting a 5-month high of $1269.40 at 10:00 p.m. EST on Thursday:

While crude oil futures jumped to a 30-day high of $52.94, erasing a large portion of the losses incurred in March:

The rapid rise of crude prices also impacted oil-sensitive currencies such as the Canadian dollar, which strengthened by 0.26 percent to 1.33965 against the USD on Thursday night.

Trump's airstrikes also tanked the Russian ruble by 1.7 percent, pushing the USD/RUB exchange rate to its lowest level for this month (57.0747).

The price of Silver also spiked approximately 1.7 percent to a 2-month high of $18.472, but at press time, the XAG/USD exchange rate has not made a new high for 2017.

While precious metals, currencies and commodities saw significant volatility in the overnight trading session, American equities and the U.S. Dollar Index have remained mostly range-bound.

Although that will likely change with the opening of European markets on Friday, as investors digest the knock-on effects of Trump’s airstrikes on geopolitical dynamics in the region.

FOMC Minutes Lifts Gold and Silver, U.S. Dollar Drops From its 20-Day Highs

Gold and silver prices spiked 1 percent on Wednesday after the Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee for March 14-15, 2017, indicated the Fed is looking to start selling off some of its bond holdings this year.

According to the release, FOMC officials said unwinding of the Fed’s $4.5 trillion in bond holdings should be done at a steady pace, and in a manner that doesn’t cause disturbance to financial markets:
“Many participants emphasized that reducing the size of the balance sheet should be conducted in a passive and predictable manner.”
Regarding interest rates, Fed officials stated that rates will climb along a “slightly steeper path” than previously thought, barring any unforeseen economic shocks. But FOMC officials also added that incoming economic data would still have the biggest influence the trajectory of the federal funds rate.

Following the Minutes of the FOMC release at 2:00 p.m. EST, the price of gold rose from $1244.24 to over 1258.00 by 7:30 p.m - a jump of more than 1 percent.

At press time, gold is only about $5 (0.4 percent) away from breaking out to a new high for 2017, and recovering more than 80 percent of the losses that were incurred from the U.S. election in November:

Silver fared a little bit better than gold, appreciating by 1.25 percent in the hours following the Fed’s statement.

While precious metals posted solid gains on Wednesday, the U.S. Dollar Index sold off 0.44 percent from its 20-day high of 100.85:

Gold photo by Bullion Vault

Cryptocurrency Investors Push Litecoin Above $9 USD as SegWit Activation Draws Near

Litecoin, a digital currency launched in 2011 that is often called the “Silver to Bitcoin’s Gold” within the cryptocurrency sphere, has remained largely ignored by investors during last month’s altcoin craze, which pushed the value of the entire alternative cryptocurrency market above $4 billion.

But the push within the Litecoin community to activate the much-hyped, controversial Segregated Witness (SegWit) upgrade framework on the Litecoin network - which failed to garner sufficient support within the Bitcoin miner community due to disagreements between large mining pools - has once again reignited investors’ interest.

Over the last couple of days, agreement among Litecoin miners on SegWit has risen dramatically, with several large pools like F2Pool, LitecoinPool and Batpool signaling their support. The SegWit framework requires approximately 75% of blocks mined on the network to come from pro-SegWit miners, before activating.

Although the SegWit upgrade fixes the transaction malleability bug, investors are betting that SegWit activation on Litecoin will open up the door for instant transactions to be enabled via Lightning Networks in the near future, allowing Litecoin’s blockchain network to service hundreds of millions of users.

Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin and Director of Engineering at San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, recently said this about the potential of the Lightning Network:
“Even with LN, Bitcoin still cannot service every person in the world. I think the calculation was that at 1MB blocks, LN and SegWit on Bitcoin can service 500M users.”
And at press time, about 68.06 percent of Litecoin blocks mined within the last 24h have originated from mining pools in support of SegWit, according to statistics site

News of the rapidly-rising support for SegWit prompted many cryptocurrency investors to pile into Litecoin towards the end of March and into the start of April, pushing the price of the digital currency to $9.489 on April 3rd - its highest value since July 12, 2014:

While the hype surrounding the upgrade may have injected some life into Litecoin’s previously stagnating development efforts and future prospects, the LTC/USD exchange rate has much to go before it gets back to its all-time high of $53.08, recorded on November 28, 2013:

Chart by

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Litecoin photo by BTC Keychain

Canadians Warming Up to Bitcoin in 2017; Domestic Exchanges See Increasing Volumes

The Canadian dollar has been floundering against the USD over the past two months, depreciating 4.2 percent between the start of February and mid-March as a result of lower oil prices, uncertainty surrounding US trade policy and excessive slack in the Canadian economy.

But there is evidence that some Canadians are taking a second look at digital currencies like Bitcoin.

For example, trading activity on LocalBitcoins - a P2P online marketplace for cryptocurrencies - by Canadians has been on the rise since the start of 2017.

The most recent weekly volume data by, which keeps track of LocalBitcoins activity in several countries, shows that $605,785 CAD worth of the digital currency changed hands in Canada during the last week of March:

Last week’s figure exceeded the previous weekly record of $475,930 CAD, which was recorded during the second week of March, 2017, by about $129,855 CAD. This is the largest week-to-week increase on record!

While the amount of actual Bitcoin traded in Canada on LocalBitcoins did not increase to a new record high last week, it did rise to a 53-week high of 431 Bitcoin.

Additionally, Canadians’ rising appetite for digital currencies can also be observed by looking at the rising volumes of one of Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges: the Vancouver-based QuadrigaCX.

Charts from Bitcoinity show that majority of the highest volume days on QuadrigaCX’s CAD/Bitcoin trading pair were in March of this year. On March 9th, a record $2.7 million Canadian dollars went through QuadrigaCX:

Global Bitcoin ATM Infrastructure Expands in March With 53 New Teller Machines

Bitcoin’s ecosystem, in addition to its exchange rate and market capitalization, had quite a tumultuous March due to escalating hostilities between proponents and developers of the 'Segregated Witness’ and ‘Emergent Consensus’ upgrade proposals.

However, the temporary instability has not dissuaded digital currency entrepreneurs from continuing to invest capital in Bitcoin ATMs (BTMs).

Data compiled by CoinAtmRadar, which keeps track of a variety of metrics on the cryptocurrency ATM industry, shows that 53 new BTMs were installed in various countries in March, bringing the total number of teller machines to 1097!

While in Australia, FindBitcoinATM says that 20 BTC ATMs are currently operating on the continent.

Last month’s figure did not exceed February’s record of 86 new BTMs, or the previous records in November and August of 2016, but it shows a healthy expansion of Bitcoin’s infrastructure across the globe.

Additionally, CoinAtmRadar charts show that the top three ATM manufacturers - Genesis Coin (513 ATMs online), Lamassu (199 ATMs online) and General Bytes (184 ATMs online) - hold a large share (81.6%) of the Bitcoin ATM market:

While fees on most online digital currency exchanges are under 0.5%, BTM users are subject to an 8.03% fee on average, “The rate is calculated based on 805 machines supporting buy operations, and 312 ATMs supporting sell operations.,” says CoinAtmRadar.

BTM photo by Dion Hinchcliffe