With cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin running the show in 2017, it’s difficult to remember the other digital currencies that have been developing in its shadow. An inexorably-relevant example: Litecoin. The cryptocurrency with the fourth largest market cap has gone emphatically vertical this year, with the value of Litecoin rupturing $320 for the first time Tuesday. Since January 2017, this cryptocurrency has risen more than 7291% in comparison to Bitcoin’s 1731%.
So what’s with the surge? There does not appear to be a single occasion—however the current surge in interest surrounding digital currencies might have pushed a few investors into ending up more adventurous. Some of them might also think the value of Bitcoin is over-hyped—and are looking for other speculation opportunities. In the mean time, Litecoin just turned out to somewhat easier to buy earlier this year, with Coinbase adding the digital currency to its listing.
What is Litecoin (LTC)?
Out of a few clone cryptocurrencies that originated from Bitcoin, LTC “forked” off the Bitcoin ledger in the later half of 2011. It was supposed to be the silver to Bitcoin’s gold: a quicker, more lightweight rendition of the Satoshi Nakamoto-created digital currency. Rather than the roughly 10 minutes it takes for a Bitcoin transaction, an LTC transaction just takes 2.5 minutes.
While making transactions 4x quicker, Litecoin’s maker also quadrupled the most number of coins that could possibly be mined. When compared to Bitcoin’s 21 million, LTC totals 84 million. Also, the total market cap of LTC at USD 17 billion is much lesser than Bitcoin’s USD 280 billion. LTC holds the fourth position, when it comes to the most traded cryptocurrency just behind Bitcoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash.
The creator of LTC, Charlie Lee states,
“The vision is always I wanted Litecoin to complement bitcoin—not compete. Bitcoin can be used for like moving millions of dollars between banks, buying houses, buying cars. It’s really secure… Litecoin can be used for cheaper things.”
Still, Lee made sure that LTC was kept very simple and identical to Bitcoin in the technical aspects so that the digital currency could “merge in” Bitcoin bug squashes in a very tiny effort.
Nakamoto of Bitcoin and Lee of Litecoin
Charles Lee, the creator of Litecoin is an ex-Google engineer.
Lee, a less mysterious personality than the pseudonymous Nakamoto, first started involving in Bitcoin in 2011. Not long after, he created Litecoin, however not with the aim of really making an alternative digital currency at first.
“It was an excuse to kind of learn the Bitcoin code. I decided that I can actually create an altcoin that’s better than what’s out there. and lastly it was fun to play around with what’s out there.”
Lee got serious about LTC this year, when he made an announcement on Twitter regarding the plans to leave Coinbase during the summer.
While Nakamoto is not any more vocal about Bitcoin, helping current enthusiasts to decipher his seminal white paper, those with inquiries concerning Litecoin require only ask Lee about his vision of digital currency.
Why Didn’t Litecoin Fail Like Other Cryptocurrencies?
Not at all like numerous cyrptocurrencies, when it initially began, Litecoin was not very far behind Bitcoin. It first crossed the USD 1 billion mark in November 2013— around eight months after Bitcoin.
The major motivation why Litecoin enthusiasts did not discard the nascent coin for Bitcoin is the difference in the mining process, requiring hardware that is all the more generally available. While Bitcoin mining utilizes the SHA-256 hashing algorithm, which needs ASIC technology, this cryptocurrency make use of the Scrypt algorithm. Since Scrypt requires a bigger working memory, most ASICs creators have been banished from building up a reasonable technology. Instead, Litecoin is frequently mined on GPUs.
Why the Surge?
During this week we witness the launch of Bitcoin futures on the Chicago Board Options Exchange, which could be a noteworthy motivation behind why the cost of other cryptocurrencies are rising. If Bitcoin is doing well, we ought to expect the same of Litecoin and Ethereum. Litecoin has lesser name recognition and it could be a superior choice for investors, however, as there is not as much controversy around LTC, offers quicker speeds at a lower fee.
Another possible reason might be the media exposure of Bitcoin and Lee’s recent rise to fame with a lot of media outlets asking requesting the Litecoin organizer to talk about the Bitcoin price surge.
In midst of this, Lee did not forgot to warn Litecoin enthusiasts:
Ok, sorry to spoil the party, but I need to reign in the excitement a bit…
Buying LTC is extremely risky. I expect us to have a multi-year bear market like the one we just had where LTC dropped 90% in value ($48 to $4). So if you can’t handle LTC dropping to $20, don’t buy! 😀
— Charlie Lee [LTC] (@SatoshiLite) December 11, 2017