What is Litecoin?

With Bitcoin being the original, and the most talked about cryptocurrency, one of the other cryptocurrencies which gets a lot of airtime compared to the hundreds of others available is Litecoin. So just what is Litecoin, and what are the differences between Bitcoin and Litecoin?

Litecoin was created in October 2011 by a man called Charlie Lee, who was an ex employee of Google. Litecoin was actually his second stab at cryptocurrency, as his first attempt called Fairbrix had an invalid code. He wasn’t put off though and soon after Litecoin was born. Much like Bitcoin, it enjoyed a huge leap in value from the beginning, particularly in November 2013 when during an astonishing 24 hour period its value increased by 100%.

To make things fairer from the beginning, Lee insisted there would be no pre-mined coins that would benefit the developers, as well as strict caps on the number of coins. He also wanted there to be a clear and superior vision. He basically wanted to pride himself on Litecoin being faster, smarter, and cheaper than Bitcoin. There was a particular emphasis on speed of transaction, and it actually broke records when a transaction (0.00000001 LTC being sent from Zurich to San Francisco), was completed in under a second in May 2017.

So what are the differences between Bitcoin and Litecoin? Technically they are extremely similar, although as mentioned Litecoin is faster than Bitcoin, with a block taking 2.5 minutes to be processed as opposed to Bitcoins time of 10 minutes per block. The mining process for Litecoin is also a bit more complicated, as it uses scrypt in its proof of work which is a sequential memory-hard function. This makes the process more complicated as they use a lot more memory than a non memory-hard function. This means the mining process is also a bit more expensive as the hardware costs more to produce.

When people are looking at different cryptocurrencies then the value of it will be the first thing they are looking for. As mentioned it is significantly cheaper than Bitcoin, and as of February 2018 one Litecoin would set you back around $150. It’s peak was in December 2017 when it hit the $340 mark.

What can you buy with Litecoin? Much like Bitcoin the number of merchants which are starting to accept it for payment is ever growing, however at the moment there are significantly less than there are for Bitcoin and Ethereum. Perhaps the biggest name that currently accepts Litecoin would be Uber.

So is Litecoin a good investment? It has been said that because Litecoin is one of the oldest cryptcurrencies then it is one of the most stable, however it’s value can still increase and decrease suddenly without warning, although not to the levels of other cryptocurrencies. And of course much like any investment, only put in an amount of money that you can afford to lose.