Litecoin is the world’s fourth most popular cryptocurrency by market cap, after bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple. Find out everything you need to know about the global decentralized currency today.
What is Litecoin?
Litecoin is a blockchain-based cryptocurrency that works in a similar way to Ethereum and bitcoin. It’s a peer-to-peer internet currency that allows for instant, near-zero cost payments to anyone in the world. It’s a decentralized payment network that isn’t managed by any central authorities. The network, like other blockchains, is secured by mathematics. Individuals can control their own finances without relying on third parties – like banks or traditional financial institutions.
The Litecoin.org website describes how the currency doesn’t want to work as an alternative to bitcoin, but as a complementary force:
“With substantial industry support, trade volume and liquidity, Litecoin is a proven medium of commerce complementary to bitcoin.”
One of the first advantages that Litecoin has over bitcoin is its higher transaction volume: the blockchain generates blocks more frequently, which means transactions can be processed more quickly (2.5 minutes as opposed to 10 minutes).
Let’s take a closer look at some of Litecoin’s most prominent features.
Litecoin offers all of the following features:
Widely Available Resources:
You can find general information as well as a list of services and exchanges that support Litecoin. General information can be found at the Litecoin Wiki, while up-to-the-minute network stats can be found at Litecoin Block Explorer Charts. Meanwhile, the source code for Litecoin Core is all open and available to anyone through GitHub.
Open Source Software:
Like most members of the cryptocurrency community, Litecoin is open source software. The software project was released under the MIT/X11 license, which means users have the power to run, modify, and copy the software and to distribute, at your option, modified versions of the software. Litecoin has a transparent release process that facilitates the independent verification of binaries and their corresponding source code.
The Litecoin blockchain can handle higher transaction volume than bitcoin. That’s because the Litecoin blockchain has more frequent block generation. The network supports more transactions without the need to modify the software in the future. As a result, merchants enjoy faster confirmation times while still having the ability to wait for more confirmations when selling bigger ticket items.
Like all good cryptocurrencies, your Litecoins can be encrypted. You can secure your wallet, view transactions, and check your account balance using the Litecoin project’s own wallet. Before you spend Litecoins, however, you’ll need to enter your password.
Mining rewards are a crucial part of any blockchain. With the Litecoin blockchain, miners are currently awarded (as of June 2017) with 25 new Litecoins per block. That amount gets cut in half about once every 4 years (or every 840,000 blocks). The Litecoin network is scheduled to produce 84 million Litecoins, which is 4 times as many currency units as bitcoin.
Litecoin Versus Bitcoin
Litecoin and bitcoin are two very similar cryptocurrencies. Litecoin was originally based on a bitcoin fork, so the two have a common foundation. However, there are some key differences between Litecoin and bitcoin, including:
Litecoin processes blocks every 2.5 minutes, instead of the 10 minutes taken by bitcoin’s blockchain. There are pros and cons to this processing time: there’s a higher probability of orphaned blocks, for example. On the positive side of things, Litecoin’s faster processing time means a greater resistance to a double spending attack over the same period as bitcoin. However, total work done is also a consideration – so if the network has 10 times less computing work done per block than bitcoin, then bitcoin’s confirmation is about 10 times harder to reverse – even though the Litecoin network can add confirmation blocks at a rate four times faster.
Litecoin uses Scrypt in its proof of work algorithm, which is a sequential memory-hard function requiring asymptotically more memory than an algorithm that isn’t memory-hard. That generally means you need more memory in your miners compared to blockchains that don’t use Scrypt.
Four Times More Coins:
The Litecoin blockchain plans to release 84 million Litecoins in total, or four times as many currency as the total supply of bitcoin.
The use of Scrypt was an interesting choice. The purpose of using Scrypt was to allow miners to mine both bitcoin and Litecoin at the same time. It was also chosen as a way to avoid giving an advantage to GPU, FPGA, and ASIC miners over CPU miners. The other component of using the Scrypt algorithm is that FPGA and ASIC devices made for mining Litecoin tend to be more complicated to create and more expensive to produce than they are for bitcoin, which uses SHA-256. This is because the Scrypt hashing scheme is more memory intensive, and ASICs and FPGAs have higher memory requirements as a result.
About Litecoin: LTC
Litecoin was introduced to the internet in October 2011. The first release occurred on October 7, 2011, via an open source client released on GitHub. Litecoin’s first release (0.8.5.1) was a fork of the Bitcoin Core client created by Charlie Lee, a former Google employee. The key improvement over Bitcoin was its decreased block generation time (2.5 minutes, instead of 10 minutes with bitcoin).
Other advantages included the increased maximum number of coins, different hashing algorithm (Scrypt-based, instead of SHA-256), and a slightly modified GUI.
Litecoin remained a lesser-known altcoin until around November 2013, when it exploded with growth. The aggregate value of Litecoin surged by 100% within a 24 hour period during that month. By the end of November 2013, Litecoin had a market cap of $1 billion. In early 2017, the currency’s market cap stood at around $1.5 billion. As of June 2017, Litecion has a market cap over $2 billion, with a price of around $30 to $40 per token.
Litecoin has also distinguished itself from the cryptocurrency community for other reasons. In May 2017, Litecoin became the first of the top 5 cryptocurrencies (by market cap) to adopt Segregated Witness. Later that month, the company completed the first Lightning Network transaction through Litecoin, when it transferred 0.00000001 LTC from Zurich to San Francisco in under one second.
You can contact the Litecoin project development team at [email protected]
Litecoin LTC Conclusion
Litecoin has remained steady as the world’s fourth most popular cryptocurrency (by market cap). The only currencies ahead of Litecoin in market cap are bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple. With a market cap of over $2 billion, Litecoin has grown from a small bitcoin fork project into a giant of the digital economy. You can learn more about Litecoin by visiting Litecoin.org today.