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Education FAQ

What is Litecoin?

In the world of cryptocurrency, numerous projects are competing with one another. Some are worth paying more attention to than others. It is not all that easy to build a proven track record, yet Litecoin has seemingly done so without too many problems. As such, now is a good time to recap what makes this altcoin so special.

The Introduction of Litecoin

Roughly seven years ago, the cryptocurrency landscape looked very different compared to today. The number of altcoins could be counted on two hands, and new projects came to market every few weeks or months. Litecoin is one of the longest-standing altcoins inĀ  cryptocurrency. For most crypto enthusiasts, it is referred to as the “silver to Bitcoin’s gold”. It has a different mining algorithm and supply cap – 84 million LTC vs 21 million BTC – yet offers the same functionality as Bitcoin in every other sense.

No Real Innovations are Needed

One thing worth pointing out when it comes to Litecoin from a technical perspective is how it does not necessarily offer anything unique. In fact, it has all of the building blocks Bitcoin benefits from. Surprisingly, it activated SegWit well before Bitcoin, and the same may happen where the Lightning Network is concerned. Other than that, Litecoin is not anonymous, private, has no smart contracts, and isn’t used for ICOs or airdrops. It is a Bitcoin clone, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Some Notable Successes to Date

Whereas most cryptocurrencies imitating Bitcoin tend to come up short pretty quickly, Litecoin has been incredibly successful. This near 100% clone of Bitcoin has been appreciated by a lot of crypto enthusiasts and speculators over the years. Although it is valued vastly lower than Bitcoin itself, it has remained a top 10 currency by market cap for most of its existence. Ever since activating SegWit, its network quickly saw an advancement in terms of lower fees, faster transactions, and an increase in median transaction value.

Additionally, Litecoin has always been a go-to solution for those who missed out on mining Bitcoin. Unlike BTC, mining LTC is a lot more user-friendly because of its Scrypt algorithm. Although there has been an influx of ASIC miners as well, it is still a more approachable mining ecosystem in this day and age. At current prices, however, there isn’t much money to be made from mining any cryptocurrency.

Charlie Lee, the developer of Litecoin, wanted to improve upon Bitcoin in the transaction department. It is much faster to move funds across the network. Especially when waiting for network confirmations has been a longstanding problem with Bitcoin. Litecoin clearly has the advantage here, and its lower fees make it a perfect alternative. Despite these selling points, Litecoin has never dominated any crypto-related discussions or “hype cycles”. That is not a bad thing, but one would expect more engagement from the community as well.

What Comes Next?

It is evident Litecoin will fight to survive, just like any other alternative cryptocurrency and asset on the market. Its solid brand gives it a competitive edge right now, but its price also heavily relies on Bitcoin’s momentum these days. If the community can step up its effort, and the ecosystem keeps expanding and improving, things can get very interesting in the future. Bitcoin is many things, but when it comes to using it for transactions, Litecoin is often the better choice.


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