Litecoin (LTC) is a digital, a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency – that was first launched as an open source software client in October 2011 on GitHub (a repository and version control platform). Litecoin was released by Charlie Lee, a former Google employee, as a fork of the Bitcoin core setup.
Litecoin is almost identical to Bitcoin – specifically designed to overcome certain Bitcoin drawbacks with a number of technical improvements. Some of the most popular improvements are that Litecoin offers almost zero payment cost and is able to facilitate payments approximately four times faster than Bitcoin.
The primary difference between Litecoin and Bitcoin is that in Litecoin the block generation time is significantly improved – reduced to approximately 2.5 minutes versus the 10minutes of Bitcoin (BTC). In addition Litecoin offers a higher capacity – with a larger maximum number of coins. A further key difference is that the hashing algorithm and graphical user interface have been developed differently in the Litecoin cryptocurrency system.
An attractive characteristic of Litecoin, alongside its cryptocurrency contemporaries, is that it operates independently from any central authority. Creation and transfer of Litecoins are implemented without controlling authority from an external third party – contrary to the standard physical currency systems in place today. The system is kept secure and in order by applying cryptographic protocols rather than the authority of a national monetary body or central bank.
2) What is it worth?
Since launch in 2011 the price dynamics of the Litecoin currency have shown significant volatility. A particular turning point for the currency historically came during the month of November 2013, when the value of Litecoin surged over 100% in the space of 24hours, sending aggregate market capitalisation over the 1USD billion mark.
Since February of this year – as the growth in interest, demand and use of all cryptocurrencies has surged, so has the value of Litecoin against the US dollar – currently trading at 46.17USD and 0.01110580BTC. Further to this volumes traded have also shown consistent growth through the year to date.
Litecoin currently has a market capitalisation of over 2.4USD billion – making it the fifth largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation. The current supply in circulation is 52.5 million LTC and the maximum supply has been pre-set at 84 million LTC – four times as many currency units as will be issued by Bitcoin.
3) Enhanced Security
Not only does Litecoin offer a four- fold improvement in block processing time compared to Bitcoin but also applies a network of enhanced security measures. Litecoin implements a scrypt algorithm in its processing – a sequential memory-hard function. This system offers improved resistance to a double spending attack compared to Bitcoin. However, this enhancement comes at the cost of a greater memory requirement.
4) Lighting Network
In May 2017, the first Lightning Network transaction was executed using Litecoin – which involved the transfer of 0.00000001 LTC from Zurich to San Francisco in less than one second. Litecoin was specifically designed to include the Segregated Witness and Lightning Network technology – two key advantages over Bitcoin. These technologies reduce bottlenecks and allow a greater number of transactions to be processed per unit time.