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Is Immediate Edge legit and safe to use in Canada?

We at Leanback Player actually tried the trading software to test its legitimacy and address some of the claims found online. And in our in-depth Immediate Edge review, we’re confident we can answer all of your pressing questions.

So, right out of the gate: Yes, it is a valid trading software. But there’s more to it than just a one-line summary. We’ve prepared a full review below – and we also have some tips on how to use it!

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. We at Leanback Player do not offer financial advice and brokerage services nor recommend readers to buy or sell cryptocurrencies, stocks, or securities. Online trading is risky, so make sure to approach it with caution.

Immediate Edge Overview in Canada

  • Our rating: 4.85/5
  • Free Demo Trading Account: Yes
  • Minimum Deposit: $250
  • Trading Fees: None
  • Account Fees: None
  • Transaction Fees: 2% commission
  • Supported Cryptocurrencies: LTC, XRP, BTC, ETH & More
  • Advertised Success Rate: 87%
  • Available in: Canada

Immediate Edge Pros & Cons


  • Demo account available
  • No account or trading fees
  • 24-hour withdrawal period
  • 87% success rate
  • 4000:1 leverage
  • 24/7 customer support


  • Limited in some locations
  • Higher minimum deposit

Disclaimer: This review is specifically focused on Immediate Edge, a cryptocurrency trading bot available for users in Canada. Please be aware that the features, services, and capabilities of Immediate Edge discussed in this review are relevant only to Canadian traders.

>> Trade cryptos with 4000:1 leverage at Immediate Edge

What Is Immediate Edge?

Immediate Edge is a trading bot that uses smart AI and detailed algorithms to help users trade – simple, right?

It also supports CFDs, meaning that you can trade a variety of assets, such as cryptocurrencies, stocks, FX, and even hard and soft commodities!

How Does Immediate Edge Work in Canada?

To make things easier, let’s take a look at Immediate Edge in action:

Say that there’s a recent movement in the market, and you are asleep. Well, there’s not much you can do, right? Wrong!

You can leave the Immediate Edge on overnight – it will analyze the market for you, and whenever there’s an opportunity to buy, it will open the buy order for you.

It’s especially useful in volatile markets like crypto trading – the price of digital coins is constantly changing, so finding the lowest points for buying is very difficult on your own.

Or, on the flip side, when a price increase is expected, the software responds by placing a sell order – you would not want to miss the next late 2023-like surge in crypto prices.

And don’t worry; you get to set all the limits and goals to make sure you don’t sell or buy at undesirable prices.

Immediate Edge claims an effectiveness rate of 87%, which is quite impressive.

>> Trade cryptocurrencies at Immediate Edge

Who Can Use Immediate Edge Platform?

Anyone with basic computer skills and an internet connection can use Immediate Edge.

For newcomers, it provides simple settings to manage risks, like ‘stop-loss’ and ‘take-profit’ levels, which are crucial when learning how to trade without much prior knowledge. And even if you are an experienced trader, make sure these tools – they can be a lot of help.

Prefer placing orders on your own? We get it; sometimes you want to have the final say – you can do that with Immediate Edge, too. Simply change the settings and task the AI to do research and analysis only and take care of the buy/sell orders yourself.

And if you also want to play around the charts a little bit, there are dedicated technical indicators available for the Immediate Edge users. These can be very useful for technical analysis, so make sure to consider them when trading.

Immediate Edge Trading Review: Key Features in Canada

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After using the Immediate Edge website for a while, we noticed a few key features that make it stand out from other trading platforms and crypto trading bots.

Let’s take a closer look.

Immediate Edge Trading Strategy

Immediate Edge is designed to perform trades with remarkable speed. Specifically, it uses High-Frequency Trading (HFT) strategies powered by advanced algorithms.

The trading platform is capable of swiftly executing hundreds of transactions each minute, making the most of arbitrage chances when there’s a difference in the price of a cryptocurrency on various exchanges – and in the crypto market, this happens quite often.

Diverse Asset Trading

Immediate Edge users will be happy to know that they can access classic markets like stocks and Forex, as well as crypto, commodities, and more.

Enhanced Security Protocols

Immediate Edge takes security seriously – and this is probably one of the biggest advantages of the app.

They put up several defensive strategies to keep user data safe at all times.

The defensive system includes strong firewalls to block any unauthorized access, SSL encryption to ensure data is transmitted securely, and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) to reinforce the safety of each and every Immediate Edge account.

Multiple Payment Methods Accepted

Immediate Edge has a user-friendly banking system in place for speed and ease of use.

The platform supports an array of payment options to suit different user preferences. Immediate Edge accepts payments via Credit/Debit Cards, Bank Transfers, and Digital Wallets like PayPal and Skrill, adding to the convenience for its users.

Free Demo Account Available

Immediate Edge provides a demo account feature that allows users to familiarize themselves with the platform by conducting trades with virtual money without any real-world financial risks.

It’s a great option if you are not sure if the app is right for you. Simply take a look at its demo version and get used to the way it feels – you can switch to a real money account whenever you are ready.

24/7 Customer Support

Immediate Edge’s customer support team is available round the clock, every day of the week, via live chat. This constant support helps to provide a seamless and safe experience, knowing that they can get help whenever needed.

0 Hidden Fees

The Immediate Edge revenue model revolves around its users making money. The platform only takes a 2% cut from the profits earned through its services. There are no hidden fees or account maintenance charges, just the 2% profits commission and the $250 minimum deposit.

This means that a small fraction of the earnings from successful trades is taken as a service charge, ensuring that the platform’s income is dependent on user success.

>> Enjoy 0 fee trading at Immediate Edge

Benefits of Using Immediate Edge Trading Platform in CA

Now that you know the Immediate Edge key features, let’s discuss the benefits of using this auto-trading software to see if it’s the right thing for you.

  • 87% Accuracy: Immediate Edge claims an impressive 87% success rate in identifying profitable trades. The Immediate Edge app tirelessly monitors the global market, and this level of precision is quite exceptional, given the volatile nature of the crypto market.
  • Advanced Tech Under the Hood: The Immediate Edge platform is equipped with state-of-the-art algorithms, a custom-designed OLAP cube, and a multi-dimensional data structure for performing detailed and swift analyses.Traders can benefit from rapid and accurate market data analysis to pinpoint the best trading opportunities.
  • 4000:1 Leverage Crypto Trading: 4000:1 is a massive leverage – and not many trading platforms offer it. Keep in mind that it can be very risky to trade with a leverage this high. Always make sure to limit your risks when trading online, and only go with higher leverage if you are absolutely certain in your predictions.
  • Only CySEC-Approved Brokers: You will not be trading with unregulated brokers if you use the Immediate Edge software. The brokers partnering with Immediate Edge are all approved by the CySEC, increasing investor protection and making the Immediate Edge system a legitimate crypto trading tool.
  • Free and Easy to Use: All it takes to begin trading at Immediate Edge is a $250 minimum deposit. The site is free to use and only charges a 2% commission if you earn money, not if you lose it.
  • More Than Just a Crypto Trading Platform: The Immediate Edge website goes beyond crypto. It also allows you to start trading Forex currency pairs, commodities, and a variety of financial assets.

Immediate Edge Review CA: Things to Improve

No trading platform is perfect, and that includes Immediate Edge. You may have noticed that some other Immediate Edge reviews have skipped the bad stuff, but we just can’t do that. So, here are the cons of the IE automated trading platform.

  • Demo Trading Feature Only After $250 Minimum Deposit: Immediate Edge requires a minimum deposit of $250 before users can unlock the demo account. Nonetheless, it is highly recommended that you use it before you start trading for real money.
  • High Leverage is Risky: The 4,000:1 Immediate Edge max leverage boosts the potential for sizable profits, obviously, but also increases potential loss. Especially for those new to trading – think twice before using it.

Review of Immediate Edge Canada: Closer Look & Rating

From registering our trading account on the Immediate Edge website to coming up with our final verdict, this is how we ranked the Immediate Edge bot.

Safety Measures: 4.85/5

Immediate Edge places a high priority on keeping your personal data secure. They use robust encryption and have placed two-factor authentication in place.

The platform also safeguards its servers across multiple locations globally. This ensures you can focus on trading, knowing your information is well-protected.

Market Variety: 4.75/5

Diving into the range of markets available at Immediate Edge is quite the adventure. They offer a wealth of options, from the world of cryptocurrencies to Forex trading, indices, and stocks; they’ve got an impressive selection at your fingertips.

Commission Rates: 4.85/5

Immediate Edge fees are straightforward and honest – they charge a consistent 2% commission on what you earn.

That’s it, no hidden costs or unpleasant shocks. It’s an approach that other trading platforms could certainly take a page from.

Banking Speed: 4.8/5

Payouts at Immediate Edge are known for being prompt, with many verified Immediate Edge reviews reporting 24 to 48-hour payout times. Compared to other auto-trading robots, this is either on par or better than the competition.

Support Services: 4.75/5

Encountering issues on Immediate Edge isn’t a dead end; their customer support is available around the clock, providing assistance whenever needed. They’re not only responsive but also thorough, which has earned them praise and a high score from users.

>> Start trading at Immediate Edge now

Immediate Edge App Alternatives for Canadian Traders

The Immediate Edge platform is not the only auto-trading software in the world. If you want to start trading using an auto bot, the best alternative to Immediate Edge, in our opinion, is Quantum AI. Let’s talk more!

Quantum AI

  • Plenty of altcoins to trade
  • Guaranteed no fees
  • $250 minimum deposit
  • CFD, Forex & other markets

Quantum AI offers many of the Immediate Edge highlights and then stands out for its focus on altcoins. With an array of around ten options for funding your account, you need to start with a minimum of $250 to get going.

What’s great about Quantum AI is that it invites you to trade without any fees, ensuring your experience remains affordable and transparent.

When you’re ready to dive in, creating an account with Quantum AI won’t cost a dime. As soon as it’s up and running, you can customize the bot’s settings to watch over specific cryptocurrencies and set your own limits for transactions.

The platform isn’t limited to digital currencies; it also includes stocks, Forex, and CFDs, serving as an all-encompassing platform suitable for all levels of trading expertise. Thanks to its cutting-edge automation, which leans on quantum computing and AI, the bot excels in predicting market movements.

If you’re just getting your feet wet in trading, Quantum AI has got your back with plenty of free educational content to help you get a handle on the ins and outs of the trading process. Plus, the platform can operate as a grid trading bot, strategically placing trades at different price levels to create a comprehensive grid of orders.

How to Sign Up for an Immediate Edge CA & Start Trading

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Embarking on your trading journey with the Immediate Edge platform is a breeze. Simply follow these essential steps, and your trading account will be ready in minutes!

Step 1: Register for a New Account

  • Visit the Immediate Edge site
  • Click the the sign-up button from the right on the main page
  • Enter your personal details
  • Hit the sign-up button to proceed
  • You’ll be paired with a broker that’s fully regulated by CySEC for added peace of mind

Step 2: Activate Your Immediate Edge Membership

  • A confirmation email from Immediate Edge’s website will soon hit your inbox
  • Click the included link to activate
  • Depending on your location, you might also need to verify your mobile number
  • Complete any required KYC paperwork requested by the trading platform

Step 3: Fund Your Account

  • Log into your brand-new account
  • Choose your preferred method to deposit funds
  • Make a minimum deposit of $250

Step 4: Start Trading Online

  • Go to your account
  • Open the bot
  • Put in your settings
  • Start trading online

Immediate Edge Trading App Canada: FAQs

Can Immediate Edge be Accessed from Canada?

Absolutely, Immediate Edge is accessible in Canada, as well as across a range of international locations, including Australia.

The system offers a platform for trading a variety of digital currencies and contracts for differences (CFDs), providing a way to broaden your investment horizons.

What Are the Costs of Using Immediate Edge?

The good news is that Immediate Edge doesn’t slip in any hidden charges. They have a clear fee policy: a 2% commission on successful trades only.

So, fees apply exclusively when you turn a profit, which is an approach that has attracted positive comments in numerous user reviews. Note that the Immediate Edge minimum deposit is $250.

How Much Money Can I Make Using Immediate Edge?

The Immediate Edge trading platform claims potential daily earnings of up to $2,200.

But remember, such outcomes are variable and hinge on factors like your initial investment amount and prevailing market conditions, along with how you set up the auto-trading bots.

Is Immediate Edge a Scam?

Immediate Edge has been on the market for about five years, and it’s a real deal, not a scam. It has physical offices in three cities: Lisbon, Nicosia, and Krakow, which shows it’s an established business.

Only brokers with a CySEC license are able to partner with Immediate Edge, ensuring they’re working with regulated entities – 0 unregulated brokers on-site.

Is Immediate Edge Website Trustworthy?

Yes, through detailed examination, it’s evident that Immediate Edge is a reputable platform. Setting up an auto-trading account with them is straightforward and involves linking with CySEC-regulated brokers — no partnerships with unlicensed entities here.

What’s more, you can get a feel for the platform with a demo account before committing real funds to trade.

Is Immediate Edge Endorsed By Elon Musk?

Contrary to what you may find online, there’s no official stamp of approval from Elon Musk on Immediate Edge.

Despite Musk’s evident interest in cryptocurrency, any association with this trading software isn’t substantiated by solid proof.

Which Types of Trades Are Possible on Immediate Edge?

Immediate Edge opens the door to a variety of trading options. You’re not just limited to cryptocurrency; there’s access to CFDs on shares among over 300 other trading instruments.

How Do You Start Trading with Immediate Edge?

Getting into trading on Immediate Edge is simple. Register on the site, make your initial deposit, and then customize your trading options to align with your risk appetite and goals. Kick off the automated trading and watch the system follow your pre-set guidelines.

Does Immediate Edge Work for Rookie Traders?

Yes, Immediate Edge is designed to accommodate traders at every level, including those just starting out. It features a simple interface and automated systems that lessen the need for deep trading knowledge. They also offer educational content to help novices navigate trading intricacies.

What’s the Cost of Registering an Immediate Edge Account?

To dive into trading on Immediate Edge, the bare minimum deposit is $250. This gets you in the door to utilize all the platform’s trading tools.

For a more robust start, the recommendation is to begin with $500 or more.

What’s the Update Frequency of Immediate Edge Software?

To maintain its efficiency and user-friendliness, Immediate Edge undergoes routine updates. While the update schedule is not disclosed, these updates are integral for maintaining the software’s security features, enhancing the user interface, and adapting to the ever-evolving market conditions.

What’s the Risk of Loss with Immediate Edge?

As with any form of trading, there’s a risk element involved when using Immediate Edge. Despite a reported win rate of 87%, fluctuations in the market can result in losses.

The suggestion here is to invest responsibly, starting small and only with what you’re prepared to lose.

What’s the Success Rate of Immediate Edge?

The Immediate Edge platform claims an impressive success rate of 87%. This indicates that the platform’s users often experience winning trades when using the automated software.

Remember, though, that historical performance is not a foolproof predictor of future earnings, and the unpredictable nature of markets means that risk is inherent in all trades.

Immediate Edge Review Canada: Legit or Not?

After testing the site and executing trades, we at Leanback Player found that many of the Immediate Edge claims regarding market variety and accuracy are true.

This is a legit piece of software and a helpful tool. Still, it is not a money-making machine where you just press the button.

Before you use Immediate Edge, you need to educate yourself on trading and keep it safe. Stay safe and happy trading!

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If you are not sure where to begin with crypto trading apps, consider Immediate Edge and Quantum AI – two of the best available to Canadians.

Want to know exactly what they have in store? Keep reading; we at Leanback Player have prepared a detailed guide for you below.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. We at Leanback Player do not offer financial advice and brokerage services nor recommend readers to buy or sell cryptocurrencies, stocks, or securities. Online trading is risky, so make sure to approach it with caution.

Best Crypto Trading Bots in Canada

Immediate Edge

  • Cost: Free
  • Free Trial: Yes
  • Overall Rating: 4.95/5

Quantum AI

  • Cost: Free
  • Free Trial: Yes
  • Overall Rating: 4.8/5

Disclaimer: These crypto trading bots reviews are specifically focused on users in Canada. Please be aware that the features, services, and capabilities discussed in this article are relevant only to Canadian traders.

1. Immediate Edge – Best Crypto Trading Platform in Canada Overall

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  • Over a dozen crypto coins
  • Covers a variety of other assets
  • Fully mobile mobile-friendly app
  • $250 min deposit
  • Features demo account

If you are looking for the best crypto trading app in Canada overall, make sure to take a look at Immediate Edge – it ticks all the right boxes, offering a great variety of assets, comfortable banking, low fees, and much more. Let’s have a closer look at it.


Immediate Edge is a bit different from other crypto trading bots. It’s free to use, which isn’t typical when it comes to automated trading apps – most of them make money by charging a fixed subscription fee with additional commissions for each trade.

With Immediate Edge, you won’t be paying any subscription fees – rather, you will be charged for each successful trade. So, it’s in the best interest of the app to help you have as many successful trades as possible!

Make sure to keep in mind that you’ll have to deposit at least $250 to start trading.

Free Trial?

The Immediate Edge crypto trading bot won’t cost you a penny, and it doesn’t have any extra costs or hidden charges. That’s why they don’t really offer a free trial – because right from the start, it’s completely free to use.

You can definitely use the app in demo mode, though, which is available once you make the first deposit.

Supported Assets

What sets Immediate Edge apart is its flexibility.

It’s not just about one type of asset or only about crypto trading. Nope, it’s much more varied than that.

You can trade commodities, stocks, Forex, and, of course, cryptocurrencies on Immediate Edge. the list of supported crypto coins includes:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Litecoin
  • Ripple
  • Binance Coin
  • Cardano
  • Solana
  • Avalanche
  • Dogecoin

Who Is It Best For?

With no cost to use – and packed with smart features – Immediate Edge has a great track record. This makes many people think it’s a good fit for almost everyone.

This automatic trading platform can suit both beginners and advanced traders.

Probably the best thing about Immediate Edge is that it’s easily adaptable to traders of different styles.

Let’s say that you are a complete beginner with little to no knowledge of crypto trading; you can set the app to do all the work for you – market analysis, research, finding buy and sell opportunities, and conducting trades.

Do you want to retain more control over your positions? You can do that, too – for example, you can simply use it for analyses only and do the rest on your own.

How It Works

To get the Immediate Edge trading bot working, you just need to register a free account and put in a minimum of $250.

After you’ve put down the deposit, you can tell the bot how you want it to trade. If you’re new, you just pick the kind of asset, decide how much you want to spend – the least and most amount per trade – and choose your risk level.

What’s cool about Immediate Edge is that it does everything on its own, thanks to smart AI tech. Your job is to watch what’s going on and make changes to your crypto trading strategy if needed.

Immediate Edge also has handy analytic tools like charts, technical indicators, and different ways to show the market.

You can use Immediate Edge on most devices, which makes it a good starting point for beginners with no trading experience or anyone interested in crypto.

Other Features

Immediate Edge shines as a super flexible trading bot that offers more than just crypto trading.

It helps cut down the risk when you’re trading things like bonds, stocks, crypto, and Forex. The best part? It does all the work for you, so if your trading plan works, you could make some easy money.

People in Canada can use Immediate Edge for free, and there are no hidden charges for any transactions, whether you’re trading or moving money around.

>> Start crypto trading with Immediate Edge

2. Quantum AI – Best Crypto Trading App for Beginners

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  • Beginner-friendly interface
  • Plenty of altcoins to pick from
  • $250 minimum deposit
  • Zero fees
  • Also covers stocks, FX, and CFDs

Just getting started with little knowledge about crypto trading? Then, consider using Quantum AI – it’s a very user-friendly app with an excellent interface.


Quantum AI is just like Immediate Edge; it’s a crypto trading bot that doesn’t cost you anything to use. It’s totally free to set up an account, and they don’t sneak in any extra charges or fees!

Free Trial?

Quantum AI is available at no charge in Canada – as well as Australia – which eliminates the need for a trial period.

And if you want to use the demo mode, you can do so by making your first deposit. Once the deposit is made, you are free to use the app in demo mode.

Supported Assets

Quantum AI isn’t just about cryptocurrencies, it also keeps tabs on Forex trading, stocks, and CFDs. It’s always on the lookout for any ups and downs in prices, letting you know about the best opportunities for buying or selling assets.

Right now, it’s got you covered with Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Monero, Ripple, and more.

Who Is It Best For?

Think of Quantum AI as a helping hand in the world of crypto trading – it’s really valuable for experienced crypto traders. But it’s the best automated trading platform for beginners.

Once you make the first deposit of $250, you’ll be able to use this automated trading app to its full potential. Set the goals, let it analyze the markets, and open and close positions for you. It really does everything you’d need to!

The interface is very good, too. It’s very easy to use, which makes it a perfect fit for beginners.

How It Works

Getting started with Quantum AI is pretty straightforward. Once you’ve put down the minimum deposit of $250, you can set up an account.

Just like Immediate Edge, all you have to do next is decide what cryptocurrencies the bot should keep an eye on and set your transaction limits. It really is the best AI trading bot we could find for beginners!

Other Features

When it comes to spotting new chances and automating the trading process, Quantum AI has a lot in common with Immediate Edge.

We’re looking at one of the most powerful auto-trading bots in the crypto world. It’s the leading crypto trading bot for beginners, ensuring an excellent user experience.

>> Trade cryptos with Quantum AI

What is a Crypto Trading Bot & How Does It Work?

A Crypto Trading Bot, in the simplest terms, is a software program that interacts with cryptocurrency exchanges to analyse trading data, place buy or sell orders, and generally manage your trades for you.

These advanced trading tools are designed to make trading simpler and more profitable by automating processes that would usually require constant attention and quick decisions.

To get a better understanding, let’s break it down.

Crypto trading bots operate based on predefined rules and strategies. These trading strategies can range from simple ones like ‘buy low, sell high’ to more complex ones involving technical indicators and signals from multiple sources.

For instance, a bot might be programmed to sell Bitcoin when its price reaches a certain threshold or to buy Ethereum when a particular moving average is triggered.

One of the most popular types of crypto trading bots is the ‘arbitrage bot.’ Arbitrage bots take advantage of price differences across various crypto exchanges. For example, if Bitcoin is selling for $40,000 on Exchange A and $40,500 on Exchange B, the bot will buy on Exchange A and sell on Exchange B to make a profit!

Another type is the ‘market-making bot.’ These bots place multiple buy and sell orders to make a profit from the spread. If you’ve ever seen a stock market trading floor with people shouting buy and sell orders, this bot does the digital version of that.

Crypto trading bots also use historical data and complex algorithms to predict future price movements. Advanced bots like Immediate Edge even use machine learning and artificial intelligence to adapt their automated trading strategy based on new data.

However, using a bot doesn’t mean you can just set it and forget it. They require monitoring as market conditions can change rapidly. So, manual trading is not completely out of the picture just yet.

Cryptocurrency trading bots can be a valuable tool for crypto traders. They automate the trading process, allowing you to trade crypto 24/7, eliminate emotional decision-making, and react faster to market changes than a human ever could. That’s good!

Pros and Cons of Crypto Bot Trading

Crypto trading bots are not perfect, but if used correctly with the right trading strategy, they can offer a host of new benefits.

Anyhow, here are some of the ups and downs of using an automated trading bot compared to doing it yourself.

Pros of Crypto Bot Trading:

  • Advanced Order Types: Bots can seamlessly execute complex order types such as trailing stop-loss, iceberg orders, or TWAP (Time-Weighted Average Price) orders, which would be quite challenging to implement manually.
  • Algorithmic Strategies Implementation: Bots enable the use of sophisticated algorithmic strategies like mean reversion, momentum trading, and pairs trading. These strategies usually require intricate calculations and precise timing that bots can handle effectively.
  • Integration with Machine Learning: Some advanced bots, like Immediate Edge, integrate machine learning algorithms that learn, adapt, and optimize their specific trading strategy based on new market data, potentially improving their performance over time.
  • Risk Diversification: Bots can manage multiple positions across various cryptocurrencies simultaneously, allowing for risk spreading and potentially enhancing returns through diversification.
  • Arbitrage Opportunities: Bots, like Quantum AI, can quickly identify and take advantage of arbitrage opportunities, where a cryptocurrency’s price differs between exchanges.
  • Technical Analysis: Bots can perform technical analysis, using charts and mathematical computations to identify trading opportunities based on statistical trends.

Cons of Crypto Bot Trading

  • Overfitting Risk: In backtesting, there’s a risk of overfitting, where a bot is overly tailored to past data and performs poorly with new data.
  • Vulnerability to Market Manipulation: Bots can be exploited by manipulative practices like “spoofing” or “wash trading,” and they may struggle with sudden market phenomena like flash crashes.

What to Look for in Automated Trading Bots

Trading bots come in various forms. Here are the key, must-have features for every high-quality trading tool.

  • Pricing and Free Trials: Even seasoned, professional traders like a good deal. Does the trading bot offer a free trial or a freemium model? This lets you take it for a spin before opening your wallet.
  • Try Before You Buy – Backtesting: The trading bot should have top-notch backtesting tools. This lets you put your strategies through their paces with historical data before betting the farm on them.
  • Follow the Leader – Social and Copy Trading Features: Some trading bots let you ride the coattails of successful traders. This can be a game-changer, especially if you’re looking to level up your trading game.
  • Have It Your Way – Customizable Crypto Trading Strategies: The best bots don’t box you in. They give you the freedom to tweak trading signals and trading indicators to match your risk appetite and financial goals.
  • The More, The Merrier – Support for Multiple Exchanges: A trading bot that plays nice with multiple crypto exchanges expands your trading playground and opens up trading strategies like arbitrage.

How to Set Up a Crypto Trading Bot & Start Trading

Here’s a simple, step-by-step guide to getting a crypto trading bot like Immediate Edge started.

This process involves picking the right bot, setting it up to your liking, and connecting it to a cryptocurrency exchange.

Step 1: Create an Account

  • Visit the Immediate Edge website
  • Sign up for a trading account
  • You’ll need to fill in some basic information
  • Create a secure password.

Step 2: Add Funds

  • Deposit some funds into your trading account
  • The minimum deposit for Immediate Edge is $250
  • Make your deposit

Step 3: Set Up Your Bot

  • Configure your trading parameters
  • Set your stop loss limit, decide how much to invest per trade, etc.
  • Choose and set your trading strategy

Step 4: Start Trading Crypto Online

  • Run the trading bot & trade cryptos online!

Best Crypto Trading Bots in Canada: FAQs

Are Cryptocurrency Trading Bots Allowed in Canada?

Yes, cryptocurrency trading bots are indeed allowed in Canada.

They are used to automate the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies, and several platforms, such as Immediate Edge and Quantum, cater to traders in the country.

What Is the Best Crypto Trading Bot in Canada?

The best cryptocurrency trading bot for Canadian traders is Immediate Edge. We are looking at one of the most advanced free crypto trading bots – 100% safe, packed with advanced features, and very intuitive to use.

Can I Use Dollar Cost Averaging With a Cryptocurrency Trading Bot?

Yes, you can use Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA) with a cryptocurrency trading bot. DCA bots are automated tools that allow for regular investments over time to mitigate the impact of market volatility.

They buy a certain share of assets at regular intervals, lowering the average cost per coin and making investments less sensitive to market changes. This can optimize returns and increase efficiency in the volatile crypto market conditions.

Are Crypto Trading Bots in Canada Free?

Yes, some crypto trading bots like Immediate Edge and Quantum AI are free for Canadian traders to use.

These advanced trading bots allow all users to register a free account and only require a $250 deposit to execute trading ideas.

Ready to Start Trading Crypto Bots Online?

We at Leanback Player hope you enjoyed our dive into the crypto trading platforms because the time has come to execute trades!

Again, Immediate Edge is the best crypto bot trading platform in our book. It offers loads of features and high efficiency and is 100% free to use with a $250 minimum deposit.

Quantum AI is another smart trade bot that we warmly recommend for trading alts.

Whichever cryptocurrency trading bot you opt for, make sure to stick to sound trading strategies, keep it safe, and never wager more than you can afford to lose.

When nine-year olds Ella Grace Rossen and Cash Daniels met in July 2019, they immediately connected. It was at Ocean Heroes Bootcamp, in the bustling halls of the University of British Columbia, and when their moms introduced them, they had no idea that the kids were about to become an environmental-activism powerhouse duo.

“We knew we could make a difference together,” says Cash from his home in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Ella, originally from Ajax, Ont., but now living in Vero Beach, Florida, agrees. “It was pretty much instant best friends.”

Within a short time, their meeting transformed into action, birthing the Cleanup Kids—a youth-led non-profit determined to make waves in environmental conservation.

Ella’s passion for the environment started with an early love of sharks (“My bedtime stories were shark encyclopedias”) and many first-hand encounters of cleaning up trash along the shores of Vero Beach. For Cash, the spark was ignited at just seven years old, when a single plastic straw on the beach caught his eye, symbolizing a much larger issue. That’s when he became aware of the crisis facing thousands of turtles, seabirds and other wildlife, which risk death from consuming discarded plastic.

Now both 14, they meet up in person for the odd sea-turtle release, scuba dive (they’re both certified open-water divers) or conference, but are other- wise “attached at the virtual hip,” co-leading the Cleanup Kids, which now has more than 200 members worldwide and counting.

“My hope for the Cleanup Kids is that it’s not hundreds of kids, it’s thousands of kids who have joined us, and for that to have a ripple effect,” says Ella. Member responsibilities include conducting at least one cleanup per month, documenting and photographing the collected trash, counting every piece to contribute toward the goal of collecting one million pieces of trash by year’s end, and sorting and recycling items.

It’s a lot of work, and it hasn’t gone unrecognized. In 2022, out of more than 700 applicants from across North America, Cash and Ella were chosen as one of 25 projects to receive the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. This annual award recognizes 25 exceptional young leaders between ages eight and 18, primarily from the U.S., who have made a substantial impact both on people and the environment.

How do you even begin to make that impact? Cash’s best advice is to start small. “I started with just a couple cleanups with my family. Don’t overdo it,” he says. “And just remember that kids may be only a small part of the population, but we’re 100 percent of the future.”

Next, read about an Albertan girl crafting dolls to raise money for kids with cancer.

At just seven years old, Angelina Tsuboi discovered her passion for innovation. It all began with a simple maze game she coded in her Los Angeles public school’s Grade 2 class. “I was enthralled by the entire experience,” she says.

Today, at 18, the Grade 12 student is not only a mobile and web developer proficient in more than 20 programming languages, but a pilot with a keen interest in aerospace cybersecurity. Her initial curiosity has evolved into a deep-seated desire to use technology to solve real-world problems. “I think a lot of kids feel trapped because they don’t know how their actions could actually change the world,” she says.

In 2021, as a 10th grader at Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, California, she co-developed Megaphone, one of her first apps, to tackle frustrations like unanswered post-class queries, scheduling issues and poor communication about events and announcements.

Her problem-solving momentum kept building from there. When she took online CPR classes at the start of the pandemic, she figured it couldn’t be just her who was struggling with the steps. So she created an app called CPR Buddy—a winner in the 2022 Apple Swift Challenge—which guides users through CPR using vibrations to regulate compression and breathing cadence.

After winning the award, Angelina presented her work to Apple CEO Tim Cook, a highlight in her young career, but one she didn’t lose her cool over. “There’s no point putting people on a pedestal,” she says.

The next year, Angelina built an app called Lilac, designed to assist non-English-speaking single parents with resources for housing, job opportunities, and translation support. She was inspired by her own experiences as a child of a single mother who immigrated to the U.S. from Japan.

When Angelina decided to pursue pilot training at the age of 16, she was struck by how difficult it was to find financial support, which spurred her to create yet another app, Pilot Fast Track, which helps aspiring pilots find scholarships for flight training.

Looking to the future, besides applying to colleges with great labs (MIT is a top pick), Angelina is exploring the realm of aerospace cybersecurity and mechatronics—blending computer science, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. She completed a NASA summer internship last summer, where she worked on aerospace cybersecurity projects.

Angelina admits she doesn’t sleep much (six hours a night) and has never been to a high school party, but she has her priorities. Her advice to other young people who want to solve problems? Think positively.

“There’s not enough optimism in the world,” she says. “I have also been in situations in my life where I’ve lost a lot of hope. But in the end, it is a mindset, and there are ways in any situation you’re in to make it somewhat better.”

Next, read about kids who are really cleaning up.

Sia Godika was 13 when she noticed the barefoot children of construction workers at a building site near her house in the upscale Koramangala district of Bangalore, India.

“Their feet were bare. Cracked. Hard. Dirty. Bleeding,” reflects Sia, now 17. “They were just walking around that construction site like it was an everyday practice for them.” And it was: In that moment, Sia realized the troubling contrast to her own privilege.

“I went back home, looked at my own feet and thought, Wow, I’m 13 years old. My feet are so tender. These children are seven or eight.” She describes opening her closet doors and seeing shoes—many of which hadn’t been worn for months or years—piled up high. She headed to her mother’s closet next, literally dusting off cobwebs from some shoes. Then she rushed to give them all away to the children she saw at the construction site.

Later that year, with the help of her parents and community volunteers, Sia founded Sole Warriors, a charity dedicated to providing footwear to those in need, epitomized by its motto: “Donate a sole, save a soul.”

The idea, which started as a dinner conversation with her parents, quickly grew. After she spread the word with posters and WhatsApp groups, inquiries from people who wanted to help came flooding in. For months, Sia was juggling schoolwork and her new passion project. “I was up till 2 a.m. creating Excel sheets to see which apartment buildings we could tackle [for donations] and contacting people.”

Now in its fifth year, the organization runs distribution drives in which Sole Warriors collects used footwear, refurbishes it (with the help of an international cobbler chain) and donates the finished products to people in need.

That need, says Sia, is endless. In a world where the poorest half of the population owns just two percent of the wealth, an estimated 300 million people can’t afford footwear. Of the nearly 24 billion shoes made every year, more than 90 percent end up in landfills.

In its first distribution drive, Sole Warriors collected and gave out 700 pairs of shoes. Today that number stands around 28,000 across four countries, including the United States, China and Liberia, thanks to the hard work of a core team of about 80 volunteers.

But the organization’s growth wasn’t without its challenges. When it came to looking for collaborators, such as a company that would do the refurbishments free of charge (repairing any wear and tear and cleaning up the footwear to look like new), Sia faced one obstacle after another before finding a partner in India’s Pressto Cobbler.

“Being a 13-year-old, I did face a lot of bias because at my age, people were less willing to hear me out,” says Sia.

In recognition of her impact, in 2021 Sia was given the Diana Award, given to people aged nine to 25 in memory of the late Princess of Wales. Awarded by a U.K.-based charity of the same name, it’s one of the most prestigious honours a young person can receive for social action or humanitarian work. But her work isn’t done. “Our goal has always been to touch a million feet,” she says.

Next, read about an 18-year-old expert in aerospace cybersecurity.

One Saturday night in the spring of 2023, while most of her friends were vegging out, Elizabeth Chen, then 16, was studying in the basement of her family’s suburban home. She was trying to crack the code on how patients with leukemia respond to CAR T-cell therapy, one of the newest and most promising treatments for blood cancers.

Believe it or not, it was science-project work. But instead of growing crystals or turning a lemon into a battery, the Grade 11 Edmonton student was trying to find ways to make CAR T-cell therapy more effective. Unlike traditional cancer therapies, like radiation and chemotherapy, CAR T-cell therapy is a more personalized approach that involves tweaking a patient’s own immune cells to fight cancer. While it holds a lot of promise, the failure rate can be high, depending on factors such as the type of cancer.

Elizabeth was drawn to cancer research for several reasons: She came across a fundraising campaign for another Albertan girl, nicknamed Penn the Brave, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at age three. And when Elizabeth was younger, her grandmother had breast cancer.

So when Elizabeth was looking for a science-project topic and her father emailed her a news article about CAR T-cell therapy, a cutting-edge treatment that still isn’t well enough understood, she threw herself into finding out as much as she could.

She started with open-access data from a 2022 University of Pennsylvania and Yale University joint study examining one of the most common childhood cancers: acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The study collected data to explain what causes resistance to CAR T-cell treatment, leading to relapse, and Elizabeth used that data to try to identify genetic biomarkers that would accurately predict a patient’s response to the treatment in order to make it more effective.

Elizabeth also found a way to analyze the patient data using specialized computer programs rather than a lab. Some of that work involved uploading hundreds of gigs of data on patients’ genetic information (over many late nights) into a free analytic software platform that would help her look for patterns.

What she discovered was that certain genetic information in RNA sequences—which translate into everything from hair colour to how your immune system fights diseases—could actually predict a patient’s response to CAR T-cell therapy, and could one day help pave the way to more effective treatment and fewer side effects.

Starting the project two years ago, Elizabeth—now 17 and in Grade 12—took months getting up to speed with the science. At first she found reading primary academic research articles too difficult, so she taught herself by reading books, open-source papers and watching YouTube videos designed for lay people who didn’t have a biomedical research background. But that only got her so far. “I thought about giving up so many times,” says Elizabeth. Instead she turned to online forums, where professional and amateur scientists alike swapped tips on tackling similar challenges.

Her original research paper, titled “Optimization of CAR T-Cell Therapy Using RNA-Sequencing Analysis for Biomarker Identification,” made Elizabeth not only a national science-fair champion but also won her first place at the prestigious annual European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Brussels this past fall.

“It made everything feel like it was not just worth it, but like ‘Oh my god, I love science!’” she says. It was also rewarding because she’d felt so out of her depth trying to tackle the research.

As she graduates from high school this year and starts applying to university (she would like to be a clinician-scientist in oncology or immunology), Elizabeth is looking forward to working in an actual lab— not just in her parents’ basement.

Next, read about a 17-year-old in India who saves soles and donates shoes.

It turns out patience isn’t always a virtue. By the time Nalin Kamat was 13, the Toronto teen was well on his way to becoming a working artist. He had already had his first show at a local arts hub, showcasing his series titled “Dispositions,” charcoal sketches of the human body as a metaphor for his own transformation during adolescence.

Yet he wanted more—specifically to start showing his work in a juried exhibition, where a panel of art experts would evaluate and select pieces in a competitive review process. That’s when he hit an obstacle, discovering in the very last line of a multi-page application that the minimum age for submission was 18.

That rejection became a catalyst for creation. “There was a void in the art world, and I thought it’d be really cool if I could provide the opportunity to more young artists,” says Nalin, now 15. With the support of his parents, in January 2023, Nalin rented a storefront and founded Little EGG Gallery, a commercial studio exclusively for underage artists. The gallery, which is now profitable enough to break even, charges a small hanging fee for any displayed work and takes a 15 percent commission fee on sales. In turn, Little EGG helps promote young talent by showcasing their work.

Not long after the opening, Ontario College of Art and Design University professor and artist David Griffin stumbled upon the gallery while walking with his wife in their neighbourhood. An exhibition was being installed at the time, and some of Nalin’s own work was on the walls. Upon meeting Nalin, Griffin says he understood that he was speaking with someone special: “a strong young artist with a really excellent idea, which was to create a space for showing the local community the easy, natural genius of young people.”

A connection was formed, and Nalin asked Griffin to help judge an upcoming competition. The first juried show was last spring, and the top three winners each received a $50 cash prize. Five-year-old Jack Gamble won for his abstract painting titled Pokemon.

Given how busy Nalin is with school, life and his own art (he’s been travelling to international fairs to exhibit and sell his work), Little EGG is mostly open by appointment only, but he’s still dedicated to growing the gallery with seasonal and themed shows scheduled a few times a year.

Teo Rivas, a 17-year-old artist from Toronto who makes Latin American Indigenous molas—hand-sewn traditional textiles known for their vivid geometric designs—says it’s about time a venue like Little EGG existed. “As young artists, we don’t get as much credit as I think we’re due, and we also don’t get many opportunities to showcase the amount of work we put into the art.”

Next, read about a teenager working on cancer cell therapy.

Cecily Eklund, 11, has always adored her baby dolls. When she was six, she needed them more than ever: She had to go through brain-cancer surgery and MRI scans, but she was told she couldn’t take her favourite dolls with her into the magnetic machine because they had metal in them.

So Cecily and her mom, Cathy—a home-schooler of seven kids and a professional doll maker in Westlock, Alta.—got creative. Together, they made a special doll, using weighted glass and other MRI-safe materials, that could stay with Cecily during the long imaging appointments.

Besides the materials it was made with, the doll was unique in that it had no facial features.

“That’s so they can have any emotion,” says Cecily, who was inspired to create these dolls, called “Blessing Babies,” for other sick kids. She and her mom began crafting more (Cecily did the hand sewing and stuffing, while her mom handled the machine work), donating some to children’s hospitals and selling others to fundraise.

Due to high demand, they recruited other doll makers to work alongside them. Soon, doll makers worldwide also began contributing, sending boxes of their handmade dolls to support the cause.

Cecily’s initiatives grew. She began selling handmade plush puppies and inspirational clothing patches, in addition to running toy drives and fundraisers for various charities, such as the Edmonton Police Foundation’s canine-unit program, the Kids With Cancer Society and the Ben Stelter fund, in honour of another Edmonton child, who died of brain cancer at age six. Including monetary and gift donations, Cecily has raised more than $200,000 so far.

Cecily’s generosity caught the attention of another high-profile Edmontonian, the Oilers’ power forward Evander Kane, who met her in the press box at a game in December 2022, when he was recovering from a lacerated wrist. Kane gave her an autographed jersey, and in exchange she gave him a patch that read “Scars are tattoos with better stories.”

They’ve had a special friendship ever since. Kane accompanies Cecily to some of her scans, and Cecily and her mom stay at Kane’s house when she needs to be closer to Edmonton’s Stollery Children’s Hospital. The friends enjoy playing the video game Mario Kart. “I always win,” Cecily says with a shy grin.

Kids Two
Edmonton Oiler Evander Kane and Cecily Eklund playing Mario Kart.

“Cecily is battling brain cancer, and if you met her, you wouldn’t know,” Kane said in an interview with Sportsnet last fall. “She’s just such an incredible human being because while she’s going through all these things, she does so much and uses up so much of her own time to give back.”

Since they met, Kane has had his young friend’s back in more ways than one. After Cecily was taunted and spat on by Los Angeles Kings fans for wearing his jersey at an Oilers game in Los Angeles, he posted about it on Instagram. Many sympathetic fans responded with support by donating to the Stelter fund.

Today Cecily calls herself a brain-cancer survivor and “childhood cancer awareness warrior,” but she is still followed closely by her team at the children’s hospital. When asked for advice on successful fundraising, she emphasizes the importance of generosity. “You don’t get poor by giving,” Cecily says. “Because you always get something back, one way or another.”

Next, read about a 15-year-old who opened an art gallery for youth.

Folbigg Illo Three

Dr. Carola Vinuesa was in her office at the John Curtain School of Medical Research in Canberra, Australia, one afternoon in August 2018 when she received a call that both changed her life and saved another. As a professor of immunology, Vinuesa immersed herself in the fascinating and complex world of genetics.

The call was from David Wallace, a former student at John Curtain whom she hadn’t spoken to in years. He presented Vinuesa with a scenario that was equal parts shocking, intriguing and devastating: An Australian woman named Kathleen Folbigg had been sentenced to decades in prison for murdering her four children, all infants, over a period of 10 years. The case had captivated the nation. Many were abhorred by Folbigg’s crimes; others questioned the veracity of her guilt.

Given the paucity of evidence used to convict Folbigg, asked Wallace, could Vinuesa’s research shed light on what actually happened to the children?

Over the next five years, Vinuesa and an international team of scientists would dedicate much of their lives to answering this question. Their findings would shake up Australia’s judicial system, raise questions about the treatment of mothers accused of killing their children and shine a light on the misuse of scientific evidence.

Folbigg, who was born Kathleen Megan Britton in Balmain, an inner-city suburb of Sydney, on June 14, 1967, was haunted by tragedy, instability and alienation from the very beginning. In December 1968, her father, Thomas Britton, stabbed her mother to death during an argument; he served 15 years in prison before being deported to his native England. Young Kathleen was shipped off to live with her mother’s sister in western Sydney.

Any hopes that Kathleen would have a warm and safe childhood were soon dashed. The girl’s aunt, known in court records as “Mrs. Platt,” complained to child-welfare authorities in spring 1970 that Kathleen was aggressive, impolite, unclean and preoccupied with masturbation—and that the strain of caring for her niece was causing her marriage to deteriorate. She no longer wanted the girl. Kathleen was not yet three years old.

Doctors determined that the girl had likely been abused by her father. She was also found to have an unusually low IQ, largely attributed to her withdrawn and restless nature. In September 1970, she was placed into the care of a foster family, Deirdre and Neville Marlborough, who lived in Newcastle, 120 kilometres north of Sydney.

At first she bonded with the family and settled into school. But the legacy of her catastrophic early years took its toll: She was caught shoplifting, left school early and struggled in her relationship with Deirdre. At 17 she left home and moved in with the family of a friend.

A year later she met a 23-year-old forklift driver named Craig Folbigg at a nightclub in Newcastle. Craig was tall with brown hair, a pronounced nose and an easy smile. Charming and chatty, he seemed like Kathleen’s rescuer. Together, they could make the home she had always needed. They married in 1987, when Folbigg was just 20, and rented an apartment in Georgetown, Newcastle. Folbigg found a job as a waitress at an Indian restaurant.

Craig was one of eight children and wanted a big family himself. Soon the couple was expecting. Thrilled, Kathleen Folbigg became protective of her unborn child: Craig was forbidden from smoking indoors, and Folbigg improved her diet. When Caleb was born in February 1989, Folbigg told people that she felt complete; after so many years of upheaval, she had a husband, a home and a baby.

But on February 20, 1989, tragedy struck. Folbigg found Caleb, just 19 days old, dead in his crib. An autopsy identified the cause of death as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Folbigg was devastated but not deterred, and she was soon pregnant again. When Patrick was born in June 1990, he underwent extensive testing, including a sleep study. The results were normal. Still, Folbigg was terrified for Patrick’s life.

It turned out that she had reason to be afraid: On October 18, 1990, four-month-old Patrick had what was known as an apparent life-threatening event, typically associated with oxygen deprivation. It resulted in brain damage, visual impairment and seizures for which Patrick was repeatedly hospitalized.

Caring for her disabled baby became the focus of Folbigg’s life. Few waking moments were spent without Patrick on her mind or in her arms. By February 1991, he was gone, too. The cause of death was listed as asphyxia due to airway obstruction related to his seizures.

Feeling that she was to blame for deaths of her two children, Folbigg fell into a deep depression. She decided that she and Craig needed to uproot their lives if they were going to beat whatever was plaguing their family. They sold their house and moved to Thornton, just north of Newcastle. Craig got a job selling cars, and Kathleen Folbigg found work at a baby-product retailer, a job that spoke to her heartbreaking desire for a family.

Folbigg One

Sarah was born on October 14, 1992. She, too, underwent numerous tests, which didn’t find any problems. Sarah appeared to be developing typically, but Folbigg became obsessed with the possibility of losing her. The couple started to feel the strain.

One night, when Sarah was 10 months old, Craig saw Folbigg “growl” at Sarah as she tried to get the baby to fall asleep. She passed Sarah to him, telling him to deal with her. The next day, August 30, 1993, Sarah died. The autopsy concluded that the cause of death was SIDS.

What could possibly explain this terrible misfortune? In the wake of Sarah’s death, Craig became severely depressed, beyond the reach of his wife’s attempts to help. In a bid to change their luck, they bought a home in Cardiff, on the western edge of Newcastle, not far from Craig’s family.

The marriage started to crack under the strain. The couple separated repeatedly, but they reunited each time—whether through genuine mutual love or the shared bond of repeated trauma. They moved yet again, this time to the nearby Hunter Valley, and decided to have another baby.

Laura was born on August 7, 1997, almost four years after Sarah’s death. She was another healthy baby but was subject to even greater scrutiny, including a full panel of biochemical, blood and metabolic tests. For 12 months, cardiorespiratory monitoring indicated no problems with Laura’s breathing and heart function. As Laura’s first birthday approached, Folbigg planned a big party. She finally had a healthy baby, and her anxiety eased. The life she had planned for herself was coming to fruition after three heartbreaking false starts.

But the couple was once again falling apart. Kathleen Folbigg was a devoted mother, but Craig was concerned about her flashes of anger. One night in late February 1999, he noticed the strain between Folbigg and Laura, then almost 18 months old. “Oh, she’s got the sh—s with me,” Folbigg told him. “It’s probably over what I did to her last night. I lost it with her.”

At breakfast the next morning, March 1, Folbigg was struggling to feed cereal to Laura. She then pulled her out of the high chair, put her on the ground and told her to “go to your f——ing father.” When Craig went to work, Laura was watching television.

Later that morning Folbigg called Craig at work and apologized for losing her temper. She then took Laura to visit him during his morning break. Laura fell asleep in the car on the way home, and Folbigg carried her to bed. Laura died later that day. This time, the autopsy was inconclusive, though it did note that Laura had myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart.

Suspicion mounts

On the afternoon of March 1, 1999, shortly after Laura became the fourth Folbigg child to be pronounced dead in 10 years, a police officer met the couple at the hospital.  The sudden deaths of the four Folbigg children, all apparently healthy at birth, suggested something sinister to police: It wasn’t a one-in-10-million unlucky happenstance. Could Folbigg have killed them?

As the police ramped up their investigation—including a search of the Folbiggs’ home—the couple’s relationship was once again on the rocks. They separated permanently in June 2000, still under police suspicion. On April 19, 2001, Kathleen Folbigg was arrested and charged with four counts of murder. She pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The jury trial began in spring 2003 at the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Sydney. In photographs taken during the trial, Folbigg looked as if she were sleepwalking—her eyelids heavy, her complexion pale.

The prosecution’s case laid out a cold take on the children’s deaths: Folbigg had asphyxiated each one. The circumstantial evidence seemed overwhelming. Each child was apparently healthy before dying in their own bed, and Folbigg was. both the last person to see each one alive and the one who had found them dead.

But the case wasn’t just circumstantial. After the couple had separated for good, Craig discovered his wife’s diaries. He later told the jury that what he read “made me want to vomit.” Crown lawyers used the diaries to allege that Kathleen Folbigg tended to “become stressed and lose her temper and control with each of her four children.” She was accused of frustration, impatience and even cruelty with her children.

The prosecutors suggested that more than 200 entries indicated that she didn’t love and hadn’t bonded with any of her children, and that motherhood left her so stressed and resentful that she was pushed to the darkest of acts.

June 3, 1990: This is the day that Patrick Allen David Folbigg was born. I had mixed feelings this day whether or not I was going to cope as a mother or whether I was going to get stressed out like I did last time. I often regret Caleb and Patrick, only because your life changes so much, and maybe I’m not a person that likes change, but we will see.

November 9, 1997: With Sarah, all I wanted was her to shut up and one day she did.

January 28, 1998: I feel like the worst mother on this earth, scared that [Laura] will leave me now, like Sarah did. I knew I was short tempered and cruel sometimes to her and she left, with a bit of help. I don’t want that to ever happen again. I actually seem to have a bond with Laura. It can’t happen again. I’m ashamed of myself. I can’t tell Craig about it because he’ll worry about leaving her with me.

Kathleen Folbigg’s conviction

The prosecutors argued that a grieving mother would not write these things. Even if the science surrounding the children’s deaths was inconclusive, the diaries were presented as clear evidence that Folbigg was an unfit mother. How far was the leap from unfit to violent?

Folbigg wasn’t the first woman convicted of killing her children under similar circumstances. Many of these cases were influenced by Roy Meadow, a British pediatrician who developed a theory that became known as “Meadow’s Law”: One sudden infant death in a family is a tragedy, two deaths are suspicious, and three are murder unless proven otherwise. Charles Smith, a Toronto pediatric pathologist and a go-to prosecution expert in criminal trials of people accused of mistreating their children, used a similar approach. Meadow and Smith had inverted the common-law tradition of presumption of innocence.

Both men have since been discredited, and many of the people they helped convict were later exonerated, but the damage was extraordinary. Sally Clark was a British lawyer convicted of murdering her two infant sons in 1999. A later review found that Meadow had misrepresented statistical evidence at her trial, and a pathologist had withheld evidence that pointed toward natural death. Clark’s release in 2003 prompted a review of hundreds of cases in the U.K., and several other mothers had their convictions overturned.

But the assumption of guilt informed similar cases. On May 21, 2003, Kathleen Folbigg was found guilty of three counts of murder, one count of manslaughter and one count of inflicting grievous bodily harm. The following October she was sentenced to 40 years in prison, with no chance of parole for 30 years, and was incarcerated at Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre in Sydney. She was 35 years old. On appeal, her sentence was reduced to 30 years with no chance of parole for 25 years.

New evidence emerges

Tracy Chapman, a childhood friend who had largely drifted out of Kathleen Folbigg’s life, was galvanized by her arrest. As she followed the trial, Chapman became convinced that Folbigg would be found not guilty. Shortly after the conviction, she reached out to Folbigg. She called the lawyers and read through transcripts, desperately trying to figure out how her friend could be exonerated.

She and Kathleen Folbigg mostly communicated through long letters, in which Folbigg detailed her day-to-day life in prison. Most strikingly, Folbigg—whom Chapman describes as an animal lover with a terrific sense of humour—hadn’t lost her compassion or decency, even as she struggled with her grim reality. “She’s got a strong moral compass,” says Chapman. “And I supported her to not allow the system to eat that up.”

Other people also started to question Kathleen Folbigg’s guilt. One of the earliest dissenting voices came from Emma Cunliffe, an Australian working on her PhD in law at the University of British Columbia. She approached the Folbigg case through a feminist lens, part of an emerging consensus among some scholars that investigators and prosecutors were prone to discriminatory reasoning against women—particularly with mothers accused of harming or killing children.

As Cunliffe reviewed the trial records, she was disturbed that so many people involved in the case were certain of her guilt even though there was no evidence of homicide. She also found the use of Kathleen Folbigg’s diaries to be both highly prejudicial and misleading.

“The Crown’s case was that the unexplained deaths of four children within the same family, coupled with the diary entries and evidence about Kathleen Folbigg’s tendency to become frustrated, were sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Kathleen Folbigg had killed each of her children,” Cunliffe wrote in the Australian Feminist Law Journal in 2007.

In 2011, an academic journal asked Stephen Cordner to review Murder, Medicine and Motherhood, Cunliffe’s book about the case. Cordner, a forensic pathologist in Melbourne, had been following a similar case from 2007 in the Australian state of Victoria.

Carol Matthey, a 27-year-old mother living in the city of Geelong, was charged with murdering her four children. The crown alleged that each one was deliberately suffocated and that Matthey had “little regard” for her children, using them as pawns in her relationship with her partner. Charges were ultimately dropped due to insufficient evidence.

As Cordner reviewed Cunliffe’s findings, he was struck by the similarities to Matthey’s case—and the sense that something was deeply off about Folbigg’s conviction. He told the University of Newcastle Legal Centre, which had taken on Folbigg’s case pro bono, that he wanted to look into the conviction. In his 100-page report, Cordner wrote that the pathology reports offered no evidence to support the conclusion that the children had been murdered.

He also pointed out that the prosecution had used Folbigg’s diaries to portray her as a bitter mother who was prone to lashing out uncontrollably, but the children had no physical injuries. Laura’s teeth, for example, should have left a mark on the inside of her mouth under the pressure of suffocation. How could a mother act so violently yet kill her children so gently?

As the years passed, more medical and legal experts raised doubts about Folbigg’s conviction. The campaign to exonerate her took a crucial turn in 2018, when Carola Vinuesa entered the picture. David Wallace, the former John Curtain School of Medicine student who had become a commercial litigator, had been following the case with increasing unease about the lack of evidence to support the conviction. He called Vinuesa and asked: Was it possible that whole-genome sequencing, the process of determining an individual’s full DNA profile, might shed light on the deaths of the Folbigg children?

Vinuesa agreed to look into it. First she had a colleague visit Folbigg in prison and do a cheek swab. When Vinuesa sequenced Folbigg’s DNA, she discovered that she had an extremely rare mutation of the CALM2-G114R gene, associated with cardiac arrhythmias and cardiac death. Had Folbigg passed this potentially deadly mutation on to her children?

Kathleen Folbigg Illo Two

To get a fuller picture of the children’s genetic history, she wanted to sequence Craig Folbigg’s DNA. He refused to provide a sample, maintaining that his now ex-wife was guilty and declining to be part of efforts to free her.

Folbigg’s lawyer presented the findings of Cunliffe, Cordner and Vinuesa to Mark Speakman, the attorney general for the state of New South Wales, and in August 2018, he announced an inquiry. The next year, Reginald Blanch, a former chief justice of the District Court, produced a report of more than 500 pages, poring over the details of Folbigg’s life and the arguments and evidence presented at her trial. Folbigg’s supporters were stunned by its conclusion: “I find no error or procedural irregularity in the trial process that causes me to have a reasonable doubt as to Ms. Folbigg’s guilt,” Blanch wrote.

Folbigg, who had been in prison for 16 years at this point, had always maintained her innocence. It was unclear what, if anything, could clear her name. The report “looked like that was slamming the door,” says Cordner.

Pressing on, Vinuesa contacted world-renowned geneticist Peter Schwartz at the Auxological Institute in Milan. In a remarkable coincidence, he had recently written about a similar case involving two siblings who carried the same mutation as Kathleen Folbigg had, on one of the other CALM genes. One child had died, and the other went into cardiac arrest but survived.

Schwartz reached out to colleagues in Denmark. Mette Nyegaard, professor of biomedicine at Aarhus University, and Michael Toft Overgaard, professor of bioscience at Aalborg University, had made a similar discovery seven years earlier: Members of a Swedish family with a history of sudden cardiac deaths carried an extremely rare mutation in another member of the CALM gene group associated with sudden death in childhood. Both cases bolstered the theory that the deaths of the Folbigg children were not necessarily the result of sinister acts.

Vinuesa realized that investigators had concluded that the Folbigg children must have been murdered because the odds of them dying of natural causes were astronomical. But when these deaths are linked with a genetic factor, the picture shifts dramatically. “Then it’s a one-in-16 probability, not one in 73 million,” Vinuesa says.

She set about gathering the DNA of Caleb, Patrick, Sarah and Laura, drawing from decades-old samples collected either when the children were born or during their autopsies. Her analysis found that the CALM2 mutation had been passed along to Sarah and Laura. Caleb and Patrick, meanwhile, shared another exceedingly rare mutation in a gene known as BSN, which has been linked to lethal epileptic seizures.

As word spread of the growing evidence that all four Folbigg children had died natural deaths, 90 eminent scientists from around the world, including Nobel Prize winners and the president of the Australian Academy of Science, signed a petition in 2021 demanding a new inquiry into Kathleen Folbigg’s conviction.

Meanwhile, Peter Yates, a former investment banker who served on the boards of some of the country’s most important institutions, heard Vinuesa talk about the Folbigg case and was an immediate convert to the cause. He became what he calls “the de facto chairman of Team Folbigg,” lobbying politicians and bringing in a public-relations rm to shift the public’s perception of Folbigg from serial killer to wrongly incarcerated and grieving mother.

Media coverage reached a fever pitch. Headlines had once called Kathleen Folbigg “Australia’s worst female serial killer”; now her incarceration was portrayed as a grim miscarriage of justice.

In May 2022, following enormous pressure from the public and the scientic community, Governor of New South Wales Margaret Beazley ordered a second inquiry on the advice of NSW Attorney General Michael Daley. Just over a year later, the head of the inquiry, retired judge Thomas Bathurst, concluded that there was reasonable doubt that Folbigg was guilty. The governor signed a full pardon for Folbigg and ordered that she be freed.

On June 5, 2023, Kathleen Folbigg was released from prison. She was 55 years old and had been incarcerated for 20 years.

She spent her first night of freedom at Chapman’s farm in northern New South Wales, eating pizza and drinking Kahlua and Coke. “We didn’t actually say very much,” says Chapman. “There was a kind of profoundness in the silence.” For so many years, the friendship had been dominated by a single, exhausting goal: getting Folbigg out of prison. Now they could finally rest.

“A long way to go”

In November 2023, the final report of the second inquiry recommended that Folbigg’s convictions be overturned, and the following month the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal formally quashed them.

For many of Folbigg’s supporters, her wrongful conviction has raised questions about how many other innocent women might be languishing in prison due to faulty science and mischaracterization of their actions.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” says Cordner, who recently published a new book, Wrongful Convictions in Australia: Addressing Issues in the Criminal Justice System. Legal experts have called on the Australian government to appoint an independent body to review wrongful convictions—similar to ones in England and New Zealand.

“I hope that no one else will ever have to suffer what I’ve suffered,” Kathleen Folbigg, wiping away tears, told the media after her convictions were overturned. “My children are here with me today, and they will be close to my heart for the rest of my life.”

Next: How DNA testing is solving cold cases—and reuniting families.

Laos Five
Dusk on the Nam Ou River in northern Laos.

I recently read that a new high-speed train route had opened in Laos at the end of 2021. The Lao-China Railway can get you the 150 kilometres from the ancient capital of Luang Prabang north to the Chinese border in just 90 minutes. It carries more than 1.5 million passengers a year, a game-changer for a country with very little transportation infrastructure.

As someone who has visited this remote corner of Laos, I wondered: What fun is that sort of speed when you can take three days to do pretty much the same trip by boat—never knowing if you’ll actually get there?

It was the spring of 2017, and my husband, Jules, and I had just spent two weeks travelling around Laos. We had poked around the humid, sprawling capital, Vientiane, in the south and explored the fascinating Plain of Jars in the middle of the country. We were really enjoying it—the people were kind, and it wasn’t as touristy as we knew Vietnam, the country we planned to visit next, would be.

We saved Luang Prabang, Laos’s historic former capital, for last. Located at the confluence of the Mekong and the Nham Khan rivers, the UNESCO World Heritage Site was quiet, with several gilded Buddhist monasteries. Its well-preserved French colonial buildings date back to the first half of the 20th century, when Laos was part of French Indochina.

We strolled the peaceful back streets and colourful craft markets and climbed Phousi Hill to take in the view. Relaxing at a bistro across from a wat (Buddhist temple), we watched saffron-robed monks stroll by as we enjoyed coffee and croissants, another vestige of France’s colonial regime. At a bamboo-stilted riverfront café we ate traditional Lao larb—spicy ground pork or chicken mixed with fresh seasonings—served with the refreshing local brew, the rice-based Beerlao.

As the sun sank on the Mekong River, we watched multicoloured longboats glide by while the breeze carried the deep, soft sounds of the wats’ gongs. I couldn’t think of a more serene place to spend our final days in Laos.

Then things took a sharp turn. Walking down Luang Prabang’s main drag on our second-last day, Jules spotted a trekking outfitter that offered a multi-day hike among the Akha hill tribes outside the small city of Phongsali. It would mean travelling to the mountainous frontier area near Laos’s northern border with China and Vietnam.

Jules and I had talked about visiting the area once we got to Vietnam. We had seen photos of Akha women wearing silver-beaded head-dresses, and we were intrigued by the fact that the ethnic minority Akha people, along with other tribes living in the mountainous regions of Laos, Myanmar, China and Vietnam, had managed to maintain their traditional way of life.

But we’d been having second thoughts. Though numerous tour companies ran treks to the Akha villages in Vietnam, we weren’t big fans of overly planned group tours. Maybe a hike to the Akha villages in less-touristy Laos, just the two of us with a guide, would be more our style.

“Let’s not go to Vietnam yet,” Jules said. “We should see more of Laos.”

I liked the idea, but I needed to know how we’d get to northern Laos before committing to it. Phongsali was so far away and the roads weren’t great. Our Lonely Planet guidebook had very little information about that part of the country.

Maybe we could go by plane?

At the local tourism office we were told that Lao Airlines did not fly there at that time of year because of thick smoke: It was “burning season” in central Laos, when farmers torch their fields ahead of planting.

We could catch a bus, but it would take 15 hours, much of it on mountainous switchbacks. What was worse, reviews on Trip-Advisor had tales of the bus drivers falling asleep at the wheel. That didn’t sound like much fun.

Laos Four
A Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang.

We called a trekking outfit in Phongsali on WhatsApp. “You might be able to get a riverboat,” the owner, Sivongxay, told us.

“But I’m not sure. Call me if you make it here and we’ll take you on a trek!”

So we would just head into the unknown? I’m the type who likes to plan my journeys, but the idea of travelling by river sounded very appealing. I tamped down my reservations and said to Jules, “Let’s give it a try.”

The local tourist office told us that any boat journey that might get us to Phongsali would be on the Nam Ou River. To get to the river, we’d need to take a four-hour minibus ride to a town called Nong Khiaw. Seemed reasonable.

“And from there?” I asked the young tourism officer.

“I think boats go north, but I don’t know how far,” she responded. We bought the minibus tickets anyway, for the next morning.

That evening in our guesthouse we hit Google to find out about boat rides on the Nam Ou. We had no luck. While there was decent information about the popular tourist regions of Laos, there was hardly anything about the country’s farther reaches.

One reason for this is that some areas are littered with unexploded bombs dropped by the Americans during the Vietnam War, as a deterrent to Viet Cong using the Ho Chi Minh Trail through eastern Laos. Nearly five decades later, the still-live bombs, partially or fully buried, remain a daily danger to farmers and road builders.

Our journey into the unknown had to start somewhere, and the first step was catching the minibus the next morning. We arrived in Nong Khiaw at about noon and walked to the riverboat ticket office. It was closed. But according to a schedule posted outside the office, a boat did head north once a day—and today’s had just departed.

There are worse places to be stuck for a night: Nong Khiaw, which had a population of around 3,500 at the time, was surrounded by misty, jungle-covered limestone karst formations. We spent much of the afternoon exploring the town. Later we found a guesthouse that served noodles and Beerlao, plugged our phone into their speaker system, put on Nova Scotia band Joel Plaskett Emergency’s Ashtray Rock and watched a mother washing clothes in the river while her kids splashed around, jumping to the beat of the music.

The next morning, we arrived at the boat office at 9:30. We were eager to find out how far these boats actually went and where in Laos we might end up sleeping that night. We learned that one leaving at 10:30 would take us to the village of Muang Khua, a five-hour journey.

Would there be another boat from there to Phongsali? We couldn’t get an answer, and our map of Laos, which was short on details, didn’t help. The map did have one important piece of information: Muang Khua had a tourist office. We were confident our questions would be answered once we arrived there that afternoon.

We took the front two seats of the blue wooden longboat and placed our packs at our feet; a dozen young backpackers piled into the boat and sat down behind us. Two hours later, at the first stop, everyone except us got off. With the entire boat to ourselves for the next few hours, we sat back to enjoy the rest of our journey.

And what a journey it was, like something out of an Indochina period film: The Nam Ou was wide, smooth and brown, and the clear sky had a misty quality above the lush banks. We munched on our packed lunch—water, apples and baguettes with Laughing Cow cheese—and sipped boxed red wine from our travel mugs as we slipped past tall, rounded karst landforms and quiet villages of bamboo huts where goats wandered the dusty lanes.

Laos One
Oxen cooling themselves on the Nam Ou River.

Children shrieked as they ran along the riverbanks in the shallow waters. Mud-covered water buffalo ambled down to cool themselves too. Women filled their woven baskets with the greens they grow on the edge of the river at this time of year, when the water is low.

It was truly a blissful, magical boat trip that we treasure even more now. Because although we didn’t know it at the time, we were among the last to experience this particular river journey, one that people had been taking for centuries. Just eight months later, in late 2017, a massive hydroelectric dam on this stretch of the river would be completed, ending a way of life for several villages whose lifeblood was the Nam Ou.

One by one, dams were being built along the river as part of the Belt and Road initiative, China’s massive international infrastructure program. Many villagers had been relocated, river transport was reduced to the short stretches between the dams, and fishing and local riverside agriculture had taken a hit, reducing local food resources.

We later realized that this was why we had so much trouble finding information about travel on the river: The dams were being built so quickly that it was hard for anyone who didn’t live in the area to know what stage each one was at.

Laos Three
The boat jetty at Nong Khiaw on the Nam Ou River.

Just before 4:30 p.m. we stepped off the longboat at Muang Khua and walked up the steep road, packs on our backs, in search of the tourist office. We found it—just as the young woman who worked there was locking up. Uh-oh. Still hoping to travel onward that day, we asked, “Is there a boat to Phongsali? A bus?” She shook her head and pointed to a sign that said the tourist office would open at 8 a.m. the next day. We were staying the night.

Walking the dusty roads along with strutting chickens and the odd wandering dog, we came across a concrete bunker of a hotel, checked in, dumped our bags and went in search of a café where we might find other tourists we could ask about getting to Phongsali. We were in luck: At the only place in town with an English menu, we met a British couple in their 60s—and they had just come from Phongsali!

“Don’t take a boat any farther north,” the man warned. They had done it, but to get to the next stretch of the river, they had to bypass one of the massive new dams; they’d spent two hours in the back of a songthaew (a modified pickup truck) on a rough road, hanging on for dear life. The road was packed with heavy trucks loaded with building materials.

“We kept getting hit with gravel coming off the trucks,” the woman explained. “Once you get to the other side of the dam, there’s no guarantee a boat will be waiting to take you the rest of the way. If there isn’t, you’re sleeping on the side of the river.”

Instead, they said, we should take the eight-hour bus trip from Muang Khua to Phongsali. That definitely sounded better.

The next morning, we awoke to the sound of a tinny loudspeaker. It was blaring an authoritative female voice speaking in Lao and some really jarring marching music. We learned later that it was a daily update from the central Communist government.

We got to the tourist office at 8 a.m. on the nose. A dapper middle-aged man arrived and unlocked the door. Luckily for us, he spoke English. “Good morning!” I said with a hopeful smile. “What time is the bus to Phongsali?”

He looked at his watch. “It left at 7:30,” he replied. Jules and I stared at each other, crestfallen. It was the bus from Luang Prabang, the man explained (the 15-hour journey we had earlier decided not to take). It came just once a day.

Now what? “Time to call Sivongxay,” Jules said, referring to the trekking guide we were hoping to meet up with in Phongsali. “Maybe he knows another option.”

Sivongxay paused after Jules explained where we were. “I think there’s a bus that starts in Vietnam and goes through there,” he said. “It comes up here a few times a week. I don’t know if there’s one today. If there is, it’s maybe at noon? Or 2 p.m.? You have to flag it down.”

Full of doubt, but with nothing better to do, we walked to Muang Khua’s main street. Sivongxay had told us to look for a bus with a sign that said “Phongsali” on the front. (Would “Phongsali” be in English letters, Vietnamese characters or Lao script? And would the “bus” be a full- size coach, a minibus or a songthaew? We had no idea what to watch for.)

It was only 8:30 a.m. so we had hours to wait, maybe for nothing. We explored the town on foot, and later that morning we found a spot on the main street with some shade and two small plastic stools, complete with a litter of newborn puppies and their mother underneath. To pass the time, we read our books and drank thick, strong Lao coffee. We negotiated with a woman who lived nearby to use her outdoor bathroom—let’s just say it was rudimentary—in exchange for a few kip (less than one cent Canadian).

But mainly, as the sun moved across the sky, we kept an eye to the east—the direction of the Vietnamese border some 70 kilometres away—watching for buses. There were plenty of all shapes and sizes, most with Lao script on the front. As noon approached, Jules started jumping up to stop buses as they barrelled into town stirring up dust.

“Lodme Phongsali?” he asked the drivers, using the Lao word for “bus.” Each time, the driver shook his head and sped off.

We were pretty much resigned to staying on the plastic stools for the rest of the afternoon, knowing that the bus might not come and we’d be back in the concrete bunker that night. We grabbed a snack for lunch from a nearby vendor and settled in. Then things changed—fast.

Looking up as yet another bus approached, we couldn’t believe our eyes: The sign in the front window read “PHONGSALI.” But it was flying past us. We threw down our lunch, grabbed our packs and scrambled behind the bus, waving frantically in its dust. You can’t imagine our relief when it slowed to a stop.

“Lodme Phongsali?” we asked the driver in unison.

“Yes, each 40,000 kip,” he said— about C$5. After paying, we were waved onto the minibus packed with sacks of rice, construction materials and other goods from Vietnam.

It was the start of another journey into the unknown.

What followed felt like a visit to another planet. We arrived in Phongsali that evening, and the next day we met Zheng, a guide Sivongxay had hired for us. To start our trek to the Akha hill tribes’ region, Zheng (who spoke Lao, English and the Akha language) shepherded us onto a minibus for a half-hour ride to the edge of the Nam Ou River. Yes, we were returning to the same river that had taken us from Nong Khiaw to Muang Khua.

A longboat took us farther north, and we were dropped off after an hour or so at a muddy landing point. Then, with small packs on our backs, up, up we climbed in the sweltering heat through a thickly forested mountainside toward the clouds and the cooler air of the Akha villages, where the views over the green hills are misty.

Over the next three days, we saw no other foreigners. As arranged by Zheng, we stayed with local families in the villages we visited and learned about the traditional existence of the Akha—one in which the men hunt for food with slingshots while the women do just about everything else.

That includes growing cotton, turning it into thread, then using the thread to make fabric. After dying the fabric indigo, they make a long, embroidered jacket that, along with leggings and an elaborate headdress, they wear on their wedding day—and every day after that. The women’s tasks also include collecting water in huge bamboo pipes, which they lug on their backs up the steep hills.

Laos Two
An Akha mother wearing a beaded head-dress.

Bathing took place in the centre of each village, with designated hours for women and men to give everyone a measure of privacy. At least that was the theory. Neither Jules nor I was able to wash without drawing a crowd. We did our best to cover ourselves with towels.

Meals, which we ate at people’s homes, consisted of rice, foraged greens and whatever meat was available—often chicken, but we had squirrel soup for dinner once, seated on short stools on a dirt floor while pigs and chickens hovered nearby, waiting for scraps. (Jules was thankful for their services when a squirrel skull ended up on his spoon; he quietly deposited it on the floor behind him.)

To an outsider like me, the lives of the Akha people look difficult. Yet they are managing to keep their culture alive in the quiet hills, up in the clouds, and avoid being assimilated into mainstream Lao, Chinese or Vietnamese societies. Fortunately, in many villages the local chief has a motorbike, giving them access to markets and emergency healthcare when necessary.

I’m thankful to have travelled a lot in my life, and whenever I am asked about memorable trips, I always mention this one-of-a-kind, never-to-be-repeated experience. I am so thankful there was no railway, high-speed or otherwise, to northern Laos back then. Our snap decision to abandon our original plan for one that literally had no road map added a layer to life I didn’t realize I’d enjoy so much.

In the end, the journey was as rich as the destination. By willingly plunging into the unknown, I discovered what truly makes you feel alive: the surprises waiting around the next bend on a river less travelled.

Next, read about 20 of the greatest once-lost cities—and not just Machu Pichu and Pompeii.