What is Litecoin? The silver to Bitcoin’s gold

What is Litecoin

Litecoin was created in 2011 as a fork off of the Bitcoin chain, in an attempt to solve a perceived problem of mining centralization. The inventor of Litecoin, Charlie Lee, is an ex-Google employee who has been a vocal member of the cryptocurrency community, and his persona has been tightly bound with the coin since its inception. With over 750,000 followers on his Twitter account, Lee’s statements, whether praised or condemned, have resounding effects.

Overview

Litecoin is known as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. Litecoin’s faster block processing time of two and a half minutes was intended as a benefit to merchants who would see their transactions confirmed much more quickly.

The faster block time was also seen as an advantage to miners who would essentially have four times as many chances to successfully mine a block than they would with Bitcoin’s ten minute block times.

Purpose

Litecoin, like Bitcoin Cash and others, is intended to be a currency. It could be said that Litecoin was an early sign of a change in perception of Bitcoin as a store of value, in that Litecoin was intended to be an alternative to Bitcoin by offering more consumer and merchant friendly features.

With a long presence in the cryptocurrency market, Litecoin is one of the tokens that will be more commonly included in services that accept cryptocurrency. However, it tends to be rolled in with Bitcoin and does not show any intention of trying to go its own way, meaning its fortunes are very much tied to Bitcoin.

Technical

Using a block mining algorithm called Scrypt, miners are forced to do serialized processing, which places more of the calculations in memory. This creates a need for hardware memory that quickly becomes too expensive to be practical to amass on a large scale, thus making it ASIC resistant. The intention was to try and prevent groups from coalescing mining power and allow regular people with fewer resources to enter the arena with non-specialized hardware.

However, as of 2017,  companies have started making Scrypt ASIC mining hardware that would work on  Litecoin, which may make mining pools for Litecoin possible.

Market

Litecoin is older than most other cryptocurrencies, and in earlier years, with fewer competitors, it was closer to the top of the list of currencies ranked by market capitalization. With the recent boom of currencies, Litecoin has fallen to the number six position, just under relative newcomer EOS.

Founder Charlie Lee created some controversy at the end of 2017 when he announced he had sold all of his holdings in Litecoin. Lee claimed that at least part of the reason he sold all his Litecoin was that he was constantly being accused of trying to manipulate its price, as traders would watch his tweets for indications of how Litecoin’s price might move. It is not known how much Litecoin he held, and he has stated that he will remain active in development. He also remains active as a key influencer in the cryptocurrency market. While he does have his detractors, even those who find fault with him nonetheless pay attention to what he says.

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