The litecoin price surged more than 40 percent after mobile top-up service Bitrefill added litecoin payments.

Litecoin Price Spikes After Bitrefill Adds LTC Payments

Through Bitrefill, customers in more than 160 countries can use cryptocurrency to recharge their prepaid mobile phone balances. Previously, bitcoin was the only currency that the platform accepted directly. Customers who wished to pay using litecoin were forced to do so through the platform’s ShapeShift payment integration, which still required them to a pay a bitcoin transaction fee.

The litecoin price traded up on the news, spiking $16 shortly after the announcement. Litecoin continued to rise from there, eventually reaching a new all-time high of $127 on cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex.

litecoin price
Litecoin Price Chart | Source: BitcoinWisdom

Litecoin is now up 40 percent from its previous-day level, bringing its market cap above $7 billion, according to the BlockExplorer Price Index.

Litecoin Targets Everyday Payments

Bitrefill’s decision to add litecoin payments is indicative of the cryptocurrency ecosystem’s changing landscape. Once viewed as a direct rival to PayPal, bitcoin is now looked on as a store of value, as evidenced by the community’s decision to prioritize security over low-cost transactions — at least in the short-term. Just this weak, gaming service Steam stopped accepting bitcoin payments, citing rising transaction fees.

But while the median bitcoin transaction fee currently exceeds $10, litecoin’s is less than four cents. Consequently, litecoin advocates view the present cyrptoeconomic order as an opportunity to establish LTC as cryptocurrency of choice for everyday transactions. However, the “silver to bitcoin’s gold” faces steep competition, particularly from a bitcoin offshoot that protests that cryptocurrency should first-and-foremost be “electronic cash”.

Launched in August through a hard fork, bitcoin cash boasts that it fulfills Satoshi Nakamoto’s true vision for the cryptocurrency. Many of its advocates believe that it will eventually supplant BTC, with one developer predicting that bitcoin cash will be renamed “bitcoin” within six months.

Featured Image Source: Pexels/Oliur Rahman

litecoin price

It’s a good day to be a hodler.

Following years of anticipation, doubts, bubbles, crashes, and a yearlong bull run that almost no one expected, the bitcoin price punched through the $10,000 threshold on bitcoin exchange Bitfinex, home to the largest BTC/USD trading pair.

The achievement sent a wave of euphoria throughout the bitcoin community, and it was particularly satisfying for early adopters who endured years of derision as they fought to help bitcoin become a mainstream financial instrument.

But the celebration did not end there.

Minutes later, the litecoin price quietly crossed the $100 threshold to punctuate its own record-setting run and raise its market cap to $5.5 billion.

Since the beginning of the year — when LTC was trading at just $4.33 — the litecoin price has increased by more than 2,200 percent — a surge that eclipses even bitcoin’s unprecedented climb.

litecoin price
Source: CoinMarketCap

As with bitcoin, the rally was led by South Korean traders who bid LTC up to a significant premium. While LTC/USD and LTC/BTC slowly crept toward $100, Bithumb’s LTC/KRW pair was already testing $120.

litecoin price
Source: CoinMarketCap

Of course, it’s important to note that litecoin could never have reached this historic milestone without the benefit of bitcoin’s tailwinds, and — given that it hit $100 just minutes after bitcoin reached $10,000 — it quite literally rode to this record on bitcoin’s coattails.

That said, Litecoin has demonstrated a commitment to innovation in 2017, as evidenced by its adoption of the SegWit scaling upgrade months before it activated on the Bitcoin Network. Litecoin served as a real-world sandbox for SegWit, and its successful implementation likely hastened its eventual integration into Bitcoin. Consequently, it is fitting that these two “founding fathers” of the cryptocurrency ecosystem should cross their respective milestones on the same day, almost hand in hand.

And, with the advent of lightning network technology over the coming months and years, the link between bitcoin and litecoin is expected to grow even stronger.

lightning network

The lightning network has successfully processed a cross-blockchain atomic swap, marking another milestone for bitcoin scalability, privacy, and infrastructure.

Developers at Lightning Labs successfully used a lightning network channel to trade testnet bitcoin for testnet litecoin. The transaction was completed off-chain, meaning that they were able to trade the coins without recording a transaction on either the bitcoin or litecoin blockchain and without using a trusted third party such as a cryptocurrency exchange.

Here’s why that’s significant.

For years, the bitcoin community has wrestled with the question of how to scale the network to accommodate more users without sacrificing security or decentralization. Some developers — particularly those who believe bitcoin’s chief utility lies in its use as a currency — argue that the network should scale through blocksize increases. Others support a broader approach that relies on so-called second-layer solutions — such as the lightning network — that build on top of the bitcoin network and protocol but operate off-chain, so to speak.

This debate reached a head in 2017 when bitcoin’s meteoric price rise had a corresponding effect on transaction fees. Second-layer solutions remained in development with no set release date, and the currency-first crowd largely cast their lot with bitcoin cash, a cryptocurrency that was created through a hard fork of the bitcoin blockchain and relies on on-chain scaling to keep transaction fees low.

However, lightning advocates continue to believe that off-chain transactions — processed through second-layer payment channels at virtually no cost — are the future of everyday bitcoin payments and transfers. In addition to reducing transaction fees, they will conceal payments from the blockchain — ensuring user privacy — without sacrificing the trustlessness of bitcoin’s blockchain. And with full-featured support for atomic swaps, users will be able to trade coins across blockchains, eliminating the need for centralized order-book exchanges.

With the successful sandbox demonstration that off-chain atomic swaps are possible, that latter goal is one step closer to becoming a reality once the lightning network is deployed on top of the main bitcoin blockchain.

For a more detailed explanation of how lightning-based atomic swaps function, read this blog post published by Lightning Labs.