What is Litecoin (LTC)?

What is Litecoin (LTC)?
What is Litecoin (LTC)?

The Litecoin (LTC) cryptocurrency is a fork of Bitcoin. It is a decentralized payment system which was born on October 7, 2011, by Charlie Lee, a former employee of Google and Coinbase. Litecoin is often considered bitcoin’s little brother for many reasons.

Litecoin in a Nutshell

Litecoin (LTC) is an alternative cryptocurrency to Bitcoin (BTC) created on October 7, 2011, by Charlie Lee, who was then a developer for Google. Litecoin source code is a software fork of Bitcoin source code; hence it is referred to as a Bitcoin fork, even though they do not share the same history.

Litecoin is often considered digital money (metal), just as Bitcoin is considered digital gold (” the silver to bitcoin’s gold “). This is due to the fact that Litecoin is 4 times less rare than Bitcoin: the quantity of LTC in circulation is indeed limited to 84 million units, unlike Bitcoin, which is limited to 21 million units.

So much of how Litecoin works is modeled after Bitcoin. Litecoin is proof-of-work based, and newly generated LTC is distributed to miners as a reward for participating in securing the distributed ledger, which is a blockchain. As with Bitcoin, the issuance of new Litecoins is scheduled to undergo a halving every 4 years: from 50 LTC per block mined at its launch, this rose to 25 LTC in August 2015, then to 12.5 LTC in August 2019.

However, there are some differences between Litecoin and Bitcoin.

The duration for the production of a block of Litecoin is 2 minutes and 30 seconds, compared to 10 minutes for Bitcoin, which is 4 times faster, which means that the maximum number of LTC will be 84 million.

The proof-of-work algorithm is based on the scrypt (or S-Crypt) function, a memory-intensive key derivation function to discourage the development of specialized integrated circuits (ASICs) and favour graphics processing unit (GPU) mining, which is accessible to the general public. Nevertheless, ASICs could still be developed, and LTC mining is no longer profitable for miners using graphics cards.

A less conservative vision: major evolutions are envisaged in the protocol, such as the addition of confidentiality with MimbleWimble.

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Litecoin (LTC) logo

Litecoin Past and Future

Litecoin was born in October 2011, thanks to the initiative of Charlie Lee, a Google developer. The genesis block was built on October 7 and contained (on the same pattern as Bitcoin’s genesis block) the headline of a 5 New York Times article announcing the death of Steve Jobs. Charlie Lee announced Litecoin on the Bitcointalk forum on October 9, introducing it as “ a lite version of Bitcoin .” The launch of the network took place on the night of October 12 to 13.

Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin

Litecoin took over the scrypt mining algorithm, which was used in the Tenebrix cryptocurrency launched in September of the same year by ArtForz and Lolcust. This algorithm was initially intended to oppose GPU, FGPA and ASIC mining and to favour CPU mining.

Litecoin was not pre-allocated, and all Litecoin was mined naturally. Nevertheless, mining went badly at first; due to a bug in the difficulty adjustment algorithm, more than 500,000 LTC were generated during the first 24 hours instead of 28,800, or 17 .5 times faster than expected. This rapid mining has been compensated since the 500,000 LTC in question now represents only 0.8% of the money supply.

Litecoin had its first speculative craze at the end of 2013, during which its price rose from $2.50 to $50 in a few days. After the bursting of the bubble, Litecoin experienced a long period of stagnation like Bitcoin.

In 2017, Litecoin benefited from renewed interest in cryptocurrencies. In April, Charlie Lee and a few others established the Litecoin Foundation, which aimed to fund the computing development and adoption of Litecoin.

On May 10, 2017, the SegWit upgrade was activated on Litecoin, 3 months before Bitcoin. This upgrade was intended, among other things, to make it easier to set up the Lightning Network. Two hours later, the same day, the first payment channel was opened by Blockstream’s Christian Decker between two Lightning nodes located in San Francisco and Zurich, respectively. Several transactions were made, including a payment of 1 litoshi (0.00000001 LTC) involving no fees.

On December 20, 2017, Charlie Lee announced that he had sold part of his LTC and donated the rest during the previous days. Turns out he had sold at the top of the bubble, which he was later blamed for.

The early integration of SegWit and Lightning caused many to call Litecoin a “testnet for bitcoin”. However, if this may have been true in the past, today, everything seems to indicate that Litecoin will break away from Bitcoin by a less conservative evolution.

On October 20, 2019, the Litecoin Foundation proposed to integrate MimbleWimble, a process to add better transaction confidentiality to the protocol and thereby improve the fungibility of Litecoin. This process would be added as a soft fork through Extension Blocks, hence the name of the proposal: MWEB or MimbleWimble via Extension Blocks. The MimbleWimble integration is in the development phase, and a dedicated testnet was set up in early October 2020.

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Litecoin Team and Partners

The Litecoin Team

Since the Litecoin project is open source, the people working on its development are not easily identifiable and quantifiable. However, the project being carried by the Litecoin Foundation, some of its most prominent members are known.

Here are the members of the Litecoin Foundation Board of Directors:

  • Charlie Lee: Creator of Litecoin and co-director of the Foundation. Former software engineer at Coinbase and Google;
  • Xinxi Wang: co-creator and co-director of the Litecoin Foundation, he is also the CEO of COINUT, an exchange based in Singapore;
  • Alan Austin: co-director of the Foundation. More than 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship and investment;
  • Zing Yang: co-director of the Foundation, she is also a member of several think tanks and think tanks.

From left to right: Charlie Lee, Xinxi Wang, Alan Austin, Zing Yang

The Litecoin Foundation also funds 2 developers working full-time on the project:

  • Adrian Gallagher: Developer of Litecoin Core since July 2017. He is also the CEO of THRASHER Corporation.
  • Loshan T.: Litecoin Core developer since 2013, he is also the creator of Litewallet.

Litecoin Partners

Litecoin is one of the projects that have started the most collaborations around the world. Video game sector, film industry, payment processors, financial product providers, ATMs, cashback systems, and sports organizations. Litecoin has made a name for itself in most sectors of activity that can, from near or far, be related to cryptocurrencies.

Here is a list of major partnerships for Litecoin. Some only integrate the Litecoin Foundation but are often related to cryptocurrency:

  • Atari is a legendary video game company. The LTC can be used towards the purchase of the Atari VCS, a PC/console hybrid from the manufacturer;
  • AMC, the largest cinema chain in the world, accepts payments in LTC;
  • NordVPN, the famous virtual private network provider, accepts LTC payments;
  • Nefarious, the Litecoin Foundation sponsors this esports team through its Litecoin Gaming entity;
  • MeconCash, a company that makes LTC available after 13,000 ATMs in South Korea;
  • Cred, a platform that offers 10% annual interest to its users who hold LTC;
  • BlockFi, a platform for borrowing and lending cryptocurrency, which integrates LTC into its products;
  • Bitgo, a custodial service where Litecoin Foundation funds are stored;
  • BitcoinRewards, a service that pays cashback in LTC and BTC on online purchases;
  • The Miami Dolphins, a professional American football team;
  • The San Diego International Film Festival, where tickets can be purchased in LTC;

Strengths and Weaknesses of Litecoin

Like other cryptocurrencies, Litecoin has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Among the advantages that make Litecoin a quality cryptocurrency are:

  • Litecoin is one of the first alternative cryptocurrencies (“altcoin”), which gives it a major place in the history of cryptocurrencies ;
  • Litecoin, therefore, has a significant network effect: many wallets, exchanges, payment processors, merchants, and other services accept LTC;
  • Litecoin’s security is very reliable in the sense that its code and proof-of-work consensus model have been around for almost a decade;
  • Litecoin is more suitable for use in everyday transactions, its transactional capacity being today 4 times greater than that of Bitcoin;
  • The development of Litecoin, although less conservative than Bitcoin, is quite slow and meticulous: this makes LTC a safe and stable value, like silver in the real world, and this is why Litecoin occupies the top 20 cryptocurrency market caps for years.

However, Litecoin is not perfect and has significant drawbacks:

  • Being very close to Bitcoin, Litecoin sometimes struggles to stand out from its big brother in the eyes of users and investors;
  • Its development is, as we said, quite slow, which makes it technically behind other less conservative cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin Cash, Monero, Dash or Zcash ;
  • Litecoin has a transactional capacity below some other cryptocurrency systems, especially those based on a proof-of-stake model;
  • Some criticize Litecoin for relying too much on the personality of its creator, Charlie Lee, who has some weight in governance decisions.

How to Buy Litecoin (LTC)?

You can buy Litecoin on the vast majority of cryptocurrency exchanges. The platform with the most traded volume and the lowest fees is Binance. The simplest method is, therefore, to buy LTC directly on Binance against euros.

Explanations for buying LTC on Binance

  • Register on Binance;
  • You will receive an email and need to click on a link to verify your account;
  • Deposit funds on the platform;
  • Click on the Market menu and look for the LTC/USDT pair;
  • All you have to do is buy LTC for the amount of your choice;
  • Congratulations, you are now in possession of LTC tokens.

Litecoin (LTC) Ratings and Reviews

Considered Bitcoin’s little brother, Litecoin has established itself in a few years as a must in the crypto ecosystem. Led by the iconic Charlie Lee, the community formed around Litecoin is one of the most active in the sector, which spares no effort to ensure that cryptocurrency is adopted.

Seeing the light of day at the end of 2011, Litecoin experienced the premises of the cryptocurrency industry alongside Bitcoin. Being one of the oldest cryptocurrencies still in operation today, LTC is definitely a part of the crypto landscape, and that is not likely to change.

With its faster and cheaper transactions than Bitcoin, Litecoin is widely used by the crypto-community around the world.

However, Bitcoin’s shadow over him should follow him forever. Functioning almost in the same way, Litecoin will have to quickly renew itself and innovate if it finally wants to stand out from its big brother.

In addition, there are now many blockchains and cryptocurrencies offering even higher performance than Litecoin. The competition is, therefore, quite tough, but Litecoin should easily attract more and more followers thanks to its privileged position.