The Ethereum network's Istanbul hard fork went forward late last week with the support of node operators, miners and cryptocurrency exchanges. This eighth upgrade of the Ethereum protocol aims to make improvements such as faster network speed and preventing the spamming of blocks. So far, no major negative events have been reported. Also last week, the Bitcoin network transferred $8.9 billion worth of bitcoin within one hour – the highest hourly volume move in Bitcoin history. The spike was reportedly caused by the Bittrex exchange, which conducted a series of 21 equally valued transactions as part of its scheduled maintenance.

Kraken, a U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange, announced last week that, as part of a collaboration with an independent Lichtenstein-based bank, it will now support Swiss franc trading. This is the sixth fiat currency that Kraken will trade, the others being the United States dollar, Canadian dollar, Euro, British pound sterling and Japanese yen. BitPay, a major blockchain payment service, announced this week the rollout of stablecoin payments for merchants and consumers around the globe. The company will now support payment acceptance and settlement in three U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoins: Circle's USD Coin, the Gemini Dollar and Paxos Standard Token. BitPay will also continue to accept bitcoin, bitcoin cash and ether.

Announced late last week, cryptocurrency exchange Binance is partnering with peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading platform Paxful to enable new fiat payment options through Paxful's Virtual Bitcoin Kiosk. According to the announcement, the kiosk will enable Paxful to facilitate bitcoin purchases with fiat payments in more than 167 currencies. Binance also recently announced a collaboration with Settle Network, a Latin American digital asset network, to launch "Latamex," a new platform allowing Latin American users to directly purchase cryptocurrency. The new platform will first launch in Argentina and Brazil, with 13 other Latin American countries to follow.

Finally, a recent report indicates that bitcoin miners in China control two thirds of the network's overall processing power. Chinese miners reportedly now have 66% of the global hashrate – the measure of network power that dictates the ability of computers on the Bitcoin network to mine new bitcoin.

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