Bitcoin Exchange Coinbase Enables Litecoin Trading, Prices Spike

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Digital currency exchange Coinbase has added support for Litecoin, allowing users to buy & sell, sell and store Litecoin using its platform and wallet.

Litecoin is now the third cryptocurrency, after Bitcoin and Ethereum, to gain full support from San Francisco-based digital currency exchange and wallet provider Coinbase.

“We are no longer just a Bitcoin company. We are a digital currency company,” stated Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong at the turn of the year, underlining the mandate for the company’s evolution into adding support for multiple digital currencies.

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In its announcement enabling support for Litecoin, currently the fourth largest cryptocurrency by market cap and valued over a billion dollars, the company wrote:

At Coinbase, our mission is to create an open financial system for the world. We’re paving our path to that goal by creating the most trusted and easiest way to buy/sell digital currency. With the addition of Litecoin, one of the most trusted and popular digital currencies, we are moving one step closer to our goal.

It is notable that Litecoin’s creator, Charlie Lee, has been working as the director of engineering at Coinbase for several years. While there have been whispers about Coinbase adding Litecoin to its platform, notable developments for the cryptocurrency in recent months has helped turn those discussions into reality.

Toward the final week of March, Coinbase received approval from New York’s financial regulator to offer Litecoin trading to users in the state, becoming the first exchange to do so. By the end of March, Litecoin prices had soared to a near 2-year high with value doubling in days.

Litecoin gained further prominence in April, with enthusiasm over the possibility of SegWit, or segregated witness, a protocol upgrade that could pave the way for the cryptocurrency to faciliate additional technologies like the Lightning Network and sidechains. Litecoin prices hit 3-year highs by the end of April’s first week amid SegWit expectations. Toward mid-April, prices resumed an upward climb as Litecoin mining pool BW started signaling for SegWit.

On April 21, a number of Litecoin miners and developers reached an agreement to activate SegWit, leaving prices to continue its month-long bullish run.

With Coinbase’s announcement to add support to the cryptocurrency, Litecoin prices jumped from about $18.17 per coin early on Wednesday to a high of $22.32 in the early hours of Thursday (UTC), gaining nearly 30% in value.

On Coinbase, Litecoin is now trading at $22.72, a level unseen since early 2014.

These marked gains have helped spur Litecoin to figure among the billion-dollar club for cryptocurrency market caps. The total value of all Litecoins mined has now reached above $1.1 billion.

Featured image from Shutterstock. Chart from CoinMarketCap.

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