Litecoin (LTC) is a peer-to-peer Online currency (a.k.a. cryptocurrency) that allows for near-instant payments to be sent to anyone in the world, at very little cost. Litecoin is an open-source, decentralized global payment network empowering users the control of their own finances without the need of any central authority. When compared to other leading cryptocurrencies, Litecoin is faster and more storage-efficient.
Since Litecoin generates blocks more frequently than Bitcoin (one every 2.5 minutes as opposed to one every 10 minutes), its blockchain network supports more transactions without needing to modify the software in the future; it was built for speed. Merchants using Litecoin will get faster confirmations times which allows them to confirm that the transaction is valid much more quickly than Bitcoin.
It was released as open-source software on GitHub on October 7th, 2011 by a former Google employee, Charlie Lee. The Litecoin network then went live on October 13th, 2011. While it was a fork of the Bitcoin Core client, there are some differences, such as, reduced block generation time, a maximum of 84 million coins (as opposed to 21 million for Bitcoin), a different hashing algorithm (scrypt instead of SHA-256), and an upgraded Graphical User Interface (GUI).
In the month of November 2013, Litecoin’s value exploded by 100% within 24 hours and reached a market cap of $1 billion USD. It now sits at approximately $3.38 billion USD market cap, with a value of $63 USD.
Litecoin vs Bitcoin
Although Litecoin is an offshoot of Bitcoin, it has two main differences from Bitcoin.
- As previously mentioned, the Litecoin Network aims to process a block every 2.5 minutes (150 seconds) which theoretically makes it faster than Bitcoin to complete and verify transactions.
- Litecoin uses scrypt (pronounced “ess crypt”) as a proof-of-work algorithm; which requires more system resources to mine than Bitcoin. This also makes it much more difficult for hackers to attack the network as it requires ever increasing amounts of memory to calculate.
Miners are awarded 25 new Litecoins per block, and this amount gets halved every 4 years or so, or every 840,000 blocks. It is scheduled to produce 84 million Litecoins at the most, which is 4 times as many units as Bitcoin.
0.001 LTC is called a lite
0.00000001 worth of LTC is called a photon
Symbol: LTC or Ł