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The blockchain was created by Charlie Lee, a software engineer who had worked at Google and crypto exchange Coinbase, and it was launched on the bitcointalk forum in October 2011.
Litecoin was created as a fork of Bitcoin in 2011. A fork happens whenever a community makes a change to the blockchain’s protocol, or basic set of rules. Forks create a second blockchain that shares all of its history with the original, but is headed off in a new direction. So what’s the difference? Litecoin branched off from Bitcoin to test new innovations, including a different proof of work mining algorithm. The digital asset also aims to offer faster transaction times and lower costs than Bitcoin.
Litecoin (LTC) is a cryptocurrency that was designed to provide fast, secure and low-cost payments by leveraging the unique properties of blockchain technology.
Litecoin’s speed and relatively low fees make it appealing as a payment option and means of transferring value, but the network has significantly fewer miners than Bitcoin, which could have an impact on the overall security of the network.
Open Source Software
Litecoin is an open source software project released under the MIT/X11 license which gives you the power to run, modify, and copy the software and to distribute, at your option, modified copies of the software. The software is released in a transparent process that allows for independent verification of binaries and their corresponding source code.
The Litecoin blockchain is capable of handling higher transaction volume than its counterpart – Bitcoin. Due to more frequent block generation, the network supports more transactions without a need to modify the software in the future.
As a result, merchants get faster confirmation times, while still having ability to wait for more confirmations when selling bigger ticket items.
Wallet encryption allows you to secure your wallet, so that you can view transactions and your account balance, but are required to enter your password before spending litecoins.
This provides protection from wallet-stealing viruses and trojans as well as a sanity check before sending payments.
Miners are currently awarded with 12.5 new litecoins per block, an amount which gets halved roughly every 4 years (every 840,000 blocks).
The Litecoin network is therefore scheduled to produce 84 million litecoins, which is 4 times as many currency units as Bitcoin.
Like other decentralized cryptocurrencies, Litecoin is not issued by a government, which historically has been the only entity that society trusts to issue money. Instead of being regulated by a central bank and coming off the press at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Litecoins are created by an elaborate cryptocurrency procedure called mining, which consists of processing a list of Litecoin transactions.
Unlike traditional currencies, the supply of Litecoins is fixed. There will never be more than 84 million Litecoins in circulation. Every 2.5 minutes, the Litecoin network generates a new block—a ledger entry of recent Litecoin transactions around the world.
How Does Litecoin Work?
Litecoin users send and receive LTC on the blockchain by inputting the public-key information attached to each person’s digital wallet.
As noted, Litecoin uses code very similar to Bitcoin’s. But unlike Bitcoin’s proof-of-work consensus – where participants known as “miners” compete against each other using specialized computer equipment to be the first to discover new blocks – LTC incorporates the Scrypt proof-of-work algorithm, which makes it possible to mine the cryptocurrency with consumer-grade hardware.
Another characteristic that makes Litecoin different from Bitcoin is the time it takes to confirm blocks. It takes Bitcoin nine minutes on average to produce a block, while it takes Litecoin two and a half minutes to produce a block on its network.
Litecoin essentially serves as a “testnet” for improvements to be implemented on the Bitcoin blockchain. For example, Litecoin integrated the Lightning Network – a second-layer technology for Bitcoin to create micropayment channels for payments – ahead of Bitcoin.
How Many Litecoin (LTC) Coins Are There in Circulation?
Like most proof-of-work (POW) cryptocurrencies, the amount of Litecoin in circulation gradually increases with each newly mined block.
As of January 2021, 66.245 million LTC have already been mined out of a total maximum supply of 84 million. The Litecoin Foundation recently estimated it will be well over 100 years until Litecoin reaches full dilution (around the year 2140) — since the number of LTC mined per block decreases every four years as part of the block reward halving schedule.
Around 500,000 LTC was instamined on day one after the LTC genesis block was mined and Charlie Lee and presumably other early Litecoin developers were among the first miners.
Despite this, as a fairly distributed asset, the Litecoin developers or Charlie Lee do not receive any direct profits from the operation of Litecoin—other than anything they may earn as part of the regular mining process.
When Litecoin listed on several markets in 2011, the Litecoin price hit $0.30. Then, from November to December 2013, it went on a massive bull run, with Litecoin price hitting a high of $44.73. However, the bear market and Mt. Gox hack caused Litecoin prices to crash in 2014, and prices consolidated within the $2 to $4 range for several years. In November and December of 2017, Litecoin price rallied over 500% to $358.34, on the back of the crypto bull market. Litecoin price hit an all-time high in May 2021, in the latest crypto bull run, which saw it reach $386.45 on May 9, 2021.
How To Buy Litecoin (LTC)
Uphold – This is one of the top exchanges for United States residents that offers a wide range of cryptocurrencies including LTC. ( UK & European residents are prohibited. )
Binance – Best for Australia, Canada, Singapore, UK and most of the world. USA residents are prohibited from buying most tokens. Use
Coinbase – A publicly traded exchange listed on the NASDAQ. They accept residents from 100+ countries including Australia, Canada, Singapore, UK & the United States.
Gate.io – This exchange was established in 2013, and is one of the more reputable exchanges to buy LTC. They accept USA residents (excluding New York & Washington State).
BitPanda – This is the best exchange for European residents. Please note they do not accept residents from outside of this region.
WazirX – This is the best exchange for residents of India.
How is Litecoin Different From Bitcoin?
Litecoin was launched in 2011 by former Google engineer Charlie Lee, who announced the debut of the “lite version of Bitcoin” via a posted message on a popular Bitcoin forum.1 From its founding, Litecoin was seen as being created in reaction to Bitcoin’s tendency to gravitate towards centralization.
- Proof-of-work: Litecoin uses proof-of-work, but it relies on access to large amounts of memory rather than central processing unit (CPU) or graphics processing unit (GPU) computing power only.
- Uses Scrypt: Litcoin employs Scrypt for its hashing function. Scrypt uses SHA-256 but includes much higher memory requirements for proof-of-work. This supposedly decreases its dependability on GPU arithmetic logic units (ALUs), and thus ASIC mining machines. However, Scrypt ASIC mining machines were created in 2021, so Litecoin may need to find another solution.
Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to be introduced in 2009. Since then, it has evolved from a novelty into a controversial commodity, investment, and exchangeable currency. It relies on decentralized and community computing power to maintain the validity and security of a centralized database, called a blockchain.
Some notable Bitcoin properties that make it unique are:
- Proof-of-work: The consensus mechanism and validation process that uses the computational power of GPUs—and to a lesser extent CPUs—to verify transactions and blocks in the blockchain.
- It uses SHA-256: The cryptographic hash function which encrypts the blockchain. The hash function converts input to an output of fixed length to encrypt it.
Litecoin (LTC) Advantages
- Litecoin is a network currency based on “peer-to-peer” technology and an open-source software project under the MIT/X11 license, It can help users instantly pay to anyone in the world, The creation & transfer of Litecoin are based on an open-source encryption protocol and is not managed by any central agency.
- The main virtue of Litecoin cryptocurrency is its work speed (if you compare it with Bitcoin, then the closing speed of the blocks is four times faster (10 minutes for BTC, 2.5 minutes for LTC), LTC has open-source code, the basis of its work is the Scrypt algorithm, transactions have a minimum commission.
- Litecoin is built upon Scrypt, this makes it strong as compared to other ALT currencies, It is beneficial for the entire ecosystem of cryptocurrency, everything is electronically done and one doesn’t have to use any physical money or credit cards to make any purchase online, Instead you can use your electronic currency thus, you can keep your financial information safe & secure.
- Litecoin has a low transaction fee which makes it a great cryptocurrency to adopt & work with, The faster transaction processing makes the system less susceptible to attacks as hackers get a very little time-window to attempt a double-spending attack.
- Like all cryptocurrencies, Litecoin transactions can be completed without any middlemen, thereby reducing transaction fees, Litecoin transactions are less expensive than many other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, It can be directly exchanged for other cryptocurrencies on the blockchain using the ‘Atomic Swap’.
Litecoin (LTC) Disadvantages
- The main drawback of Litecoin is its absolute anonymity, which creates a bad image for the coin, as it is used for illegal things in DarkNet, Mining is too centralized, Since the introduction of the Litecoin professional mining machine at the beginning of last year, it is reported that in the presence of mines, the computing power once exceeded 50% of the total network computing power, resulting in uneven distribution.
- Litecoins are not managed by any central authority, so, you feel risky while choosing it, If it happens that your coin is stolen or lost then the money is gone and you can do nothing about it, the client code is not maintained properly and is based on an obsolete Bitcoin version, Its price is pure speculation and there are almost negligible applications for Litecoins.
- Litecoin is an open-source software project which is a peer to peer cryptocurrency since it is an open-source project it is not managed open-sourcetral authority, Litecoins are still unknown compared to Bitcoins, This is mainly due to there being no central Litecoin authority, The largest virtual currency trading websites still don’t support Litecoins.
- Litecoins is still holding fort in terms of efficiency & speed, the SegWit update has been embraced by Bitcoin as well, thereby chipping away at one of its USPs, The withdrawal of the Litepay service (similar to Bitpay) that had already been announced and had been met with great enthusiasm, also affected the credibility of Litecoin.
The process of bringing new Litecoin (LTC) tokens into circulation is very similar to how Bitcoin (BTC) enters circulation. LTC miners use the Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm to solve complex mathematical equations and compete for the right to certify transactions and append new blocks to the blockchain. In return, miners receive LTC as compensation for their work. However, Litecoin uses the Scrypt hashing function, which works in conjunction with the SHA-256 hashing algorithm used by Bitcoin miners.
The crucial difference is that Scrypt has higher memory requirements for PoW mining and requires less computing power. The supposed benefit of this is that it reduces the reliance on GPU arithmetic logic units (ALUs) and ASIC mining machines. Despite this, Scrypt ASIC mining machines are still prominent in the LTC mining community. Also, Litecoin mining tends to require access to large amounts of memory instead of relying entirely on central processing unit (CPU) or graphics processing unit (GPU) computing power.
Furthermore, the maximum supply of LTC that can ever be mined is four times that of BTC. While the BTC supply has a cap of 21 million, LTC has a cap of 84 million. Also, the Litecoin network can finalize transactions around four times as fast as the Bitcoin network. Accordingly, the halving of Litecoin mining rewards occurs every 840,000 blocks, whereas Bitcoin mining rewards are halved every 210,000 blocks (or thereabouts). This reduction in rewards aims to increase the scarcity and maintain the value of these assets.
The Scrypt Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm is less resource-intensive than the SHA-256 PoW hashing algorithm. Accordingly, Litecoin requires less computational power for confirming transactions.
Scrypt is a “password-based key derivation function” that was created to make large-scale hardware attacks more challenging. Unlike Bitcoin’s SHA-256 algorithm, Scrypt requires a large amount of random access memory (RAM) to interfere with parallel processing, with much less focus on GPU processing.
The Retrospective Of Litecoin
Here is a short history of Litecoin:
- In 2011, Charlie Lee created Litecoin as a better alternative to Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency was soon dubbed “digital silver.”
- In 2013, Lee was hired by Coinbase, which boosted LTC’s notoriety. The price surged from $3 to over $30 in a short while, before gradually retreating.
- In May 2017, Coinbase listed Litecoin and triggered another significant spike. At this time, Litecoin continued its rally up until the end of 2020, hitting an all-time high at over $360.
- During the same month, Litecoin adopted Segregated Witness and the Lightning Network layer, which enable users to conduct multiple LTC .
It’s worth mentioning that Litecoin has quickly become a sandbox for other cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin. Thus, whenever the crypto community pondered a major upgrade to be implemented by Bitcoin, they favored its initial trial on Litecoin. For example, the Segregated Witness was first introduced to Litecoin and then to Bitcoin.
Is LTC A Good Investment?
Litecoin remained below $100 for the first half of its lifespan. However, in late 2017, the price hit $70 and then jumped to almost $400 by year’s end in the overall bull run. Since then, the asset has fallen hard down to the $100 area, give or take, though it jumped up toward $160 mid-2019 before falling back down.
Since then, Litecoin has ranged from the mid $30’s all the way to the $80 it’s sitting near right now. It’s not a particularly fruitful investment when considering the year-over-year value, but Litecoin is performing relatively well compared to most other cryptocurrencies.
After all, Litecoin is the number 5 cryptocurrency in terms of market cap, totaling around $5.4 billion as of this writing.
Like all cryptocurrencies, Litecoin is affected by various factors. The upgrades and price of Bitcoin are one such element.
For example, Litecoin used to correlate with Bitcoin’s price fairly closely, as most digital assets do. However, since Bitcoin integrated the SegWit upgrade and a few others that make it faster, Litecoin’s network begins to run out of unique offerings and starts to fall.
Conversely, the asset still has quicker transaction speed than Bitcoin, making it quite useful for interested investors. As more of the mainstream world catches onto crypto, this speed and accessibility for miners could bring in an audience.
Also, there’s a limit of 85 million Litecoin that will be in circulation. This is much higher than Bitcoin’s 21 million and can increase the chances of it becoming a widespread currency. While this could mean Litecoin never reaches Bitcoin’s high value, it could mean the asset will be more stable in the future. 85 million Litecoin is a lot, and it’s absolutely reasonable for someone to own one or even more of these, pointing to a positive future for the asset.
After all, Litecoin is considered the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. Gold is much rarer than silver and sells for a higher price, but silver is used much more often as a transfer of value and has a lower price as a result. The same logic might also be emulated in the cryptocurrency space.
Similar to Bitcoin, Litecoin also experiences a halving. This literally halves the rewards given to miners for successfully validating a block. Each time this happens, Litecoin becomes a little bit rarer, and the price is projected to increase as a result. It’s impossible to track exactly what price changes are due to the halving instead of other factors, but one can be sure it plays a role in any changes of value.
Finally, the Litecoin platform has recently seen the launch of LiteBringer, an RPG video game that runs on the network. Gaming is often seen as the ideal way to teach users about blockchain, as it’s a fun way to learn about the ins and outs. LiteBringer allows users to buy in-game items, which increases the transactions on the Litecoin network. This can make the blockchain more appealing to outsiders, bringing in more money and increasing its value.