The rush to collect cryptocurrencies continues well into 2017.
If you are new to the crypto space, you might have heard of only Bitcoin.
But there are hundreds of altcoins (or alternative cryptocurrencies) other than Bitcoin. Each altcoin comes up with its own unique technology and vision to change the world.
One such cryptocurrency goes by the name of Litecoin.
Fun fact: Litecoin prices surged more than 1000% in last one year.
Litecoin is the world’s first altcoin. Like Bitcoin, Litecoin also exists on the internet as digital money. No one can feel, touch, or mint it.
But there are still fundamental differences between both currencies.
What Is Litecoin Cryptocurrency Used For?
Litecoin is a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, but it is based on an entirely different protocol. It was conceived to act like pure digital money.
The official Litecoin site says:
Litecoin is a peer-to-peer Internet currency that enables instant, near-zero cost payments to anyone in the world.
Litecoin is also open source, decentralized, and backed by cryptographic math to secure transactions.
Litecoin was not made to compete against Bitcoin, but instead to act as a complimentary payment solution alternative.
Think of Litecoin as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold.
When And Why Was Litecoin Created?
Litecoin was created on 7th Oct 2011 by Charlie Lee, an ex-Google employee. Litecoin was designed to complement Bitcoin by solving problems like concentrated mining pools and transaction timings. Charlie is very active on Twitter, and you can read his blog here.
Litecoin came from Bitcoin’s core code with some modifications. Charlie Lee modified the code and protocol in the way he considered best in order to achieve large-scale adoption of the currency.
Lee wanted to reduce block confirmation timings of 10 minutes to 2.5 minutes so that a higher volume of transactions could be confirmed.
By doing so, Lee enhanced the Litecoin transaction speed by 4X (when compared to Bitcoin).
The original Bitcoin core’s algorithm of SHA-256 was changed to the Scrypt algorithm, which is very memory-consuming. The Scrypt algorithm makes it difficult to operate concentrated mining pools.
Team Behind Litecoin
This one is very interesting.
In 2011, Charlie Lee released Litecoin on GitHub.
From 2011-2016, Litecoin didn’t have any full-time developers. Initially, only Charlie Lee (the creator of Litecoin) and Warren Togami (the lead developer) were associated with the Litecoin open source project.
In 2016, a developer under the alias name “Shaolinfry” joined Litecoin.
There are also several other contributors who run the community and look after releases. More info here.
Today's my last day at @coinbase! I will miss working with you all.
I'm going to shift my focus to Litecoin now. To the moon! 😁 pic.twitter.com/Ys9dZwtTFO
— Charlie Lee [LTC] (@SatoshiLite) June 10, 2017
How Many Litecoins Will There Be?
Litecoin was the first one to identify the limited supply of 21 million bitcoins. So, Litecoin came up with a 4X supply of bitcoins.
The total number of Litecoin to ever be produced is 84 million units. At present, there are approx. 53 million units in circulation and 31 million units yet to be mined.
Every 2.5 minutes, a Litecoin block is mined, and 25 coins are generated, which makes 14,400 Litecoins per day.
How Much Is One Litecoin Worth?
At the time of this article, the price of each unit of Litecoin (LTC) is worth $50 with 53,240,232 LTC in circulation.
Hence, the market capitalization of Litecoin is $ 2.7 billion, putting it in the top 5 list of cryptocurrencies by market cap.
How To Buy Litecoin (Best Websites to Buy Litecoin [LTC] )
Usually buying altcoins with fiat is difficult because of liquidity. But Litecoin being one of the oldest players amongst the altcoin has sufficient liquidity and it is possible to buy LTC for USD, EUR, CNY, GBP etc. So here is the list of sources from where you can buy LTC.
Buy Litecoin from Coinbase
A cheap and fast way of buying Litecoin is through Coinbase, provided that they serve your country.
You can check to see if their service is available in your country over here.
Here’s what you do:
- Register an account at Coinbase.
- Configure your bank account.
- Transfer your national currency into your Coinbase wallet.
- Exchange your currency for Litecoin.
Buy Litecoin from Changelly
If you are from one of those countries where Coinbase is not operational, then you can buy Bitcoins & exchange it for Litecoins.
One of the easiest ways to get ahold of your first Litecoin (LTC) is to get it exchanged from Changelly. I like using Changelly because of their competitive exchange rates.
To do this, you will need the following things:
- Your Litecoin address where you would like to get your Litecoin. (I have mentioned the wallets for LTC below.)
- Bitcoins/other altcoins to exchange for Litecoin.
Note: Though this guide shows how to buy Ripple in exchange for BTC, the process is exactly the same for buying Litecoin.
Buy Litecoin from Shapeshift
Shapeshift.io also offers an exchange platform similar to Changelly. Here you can also buy your first Litecoin by exchanging any supported cryptocurrency.
At present, Shapeshift supports 33 cryptocurrencies (including Litecoin).
If you need a step by step process of exchanging your currencies for LTC, see our Shapeshift guide here.
Note: Though this guide is for exchanging ETH for BTC, the process is exactly the same for buying LTC.
Buy Litecoin from Popular Exchanges
- Bitfinex – Supported pairs are LTC/USD
- Bittrex– Supported pairs are LTC/BTC, LTC/USDT, LTC/ETH
- Livecoin – Supported pairs are LTC/BTC, LTC/USD.
- Poloniex – Supported pairs are LTC/BTC, LTC/USDT, LTC/XMR
- Kraken – Supported pairs are LTC/BTC, LTC/USD, LTC/EUR.
- BitStamp-Supported pairs are LTC/BTC, LTC/USD, LTC/EUR.
- Bitsquare – Add your national currency or cryptocurrency and get started.
- Coincut – Online exchange supporting GBP bank transfer for LTC, BTC, and XMR.
Popular Litecoin Wallets
Both wallets support Litecoin, however, I prefer using the Ledger Nano S for my funds.
The Ledger Nano S is also the cheapest multi-currency hardware wallet available (only $65!).
If you hold plenty of cryptocurrencies, consider getting a Ledger Nano S or Trezor.
Here is a video playlist that will help you learn how to use the Ledger Nano S. This is going to help you a lot in your Bitcoin & Litecoin future:
Desktop Wallet –
Exodus is a multi-cryptocurrency desktop wallet that supports Litecoin.
It is a wallet which focuses on easy usability along with ensuring the security of your digital assets. It also has a one-click email recovery feature.
And the 12-word recovery seed key feature enables you to restore your funds if you run into any issues with your device.
Exodus is available on Mac, Linux, and Windows.
Mobile Wallet –
Jaxx is a multi-cryptocurrency mobile wallet which supports Litecoin.
It has one seed key recovery phrase feature which enables you to restore your Litecoins in case your device is lost or damaged.
Jaxx is available on iOS mobile/tablet, Chrome & Firefox Extensions, and MAC/Linux desktops.
Create Litecoin Paper Wallet –
If paper wallets work for you, then head toward liteaddress.org and make one.
If you don’t know how to make a paper wallet, see our guide on how to make a Bitcoin paper wallet. Though this guide is for making a Bitcoin paper wallet, it will still help you make a paper wallet for Litecoin (it’s the same process).
SegWit, Litecoin & Atomic Swap
Segregated Witness (aka SegWit) is a blockchain scaling solution. On 10th May 2017, the Litecoin blockchain implemented SegWit with a community consensus of 95%.
SegWit has activated on Litecoin! 💥😁 pic.twitter.com/lpeklpQpZe
— Charlie Lee [LTC] (@SatoshiLite) May 10, 2017
In plain English, SegWit means separating the witness signatures from the transactions.
For example: Consider Litecoin blocks as wagons of a train which carry a new passenger and their luggage every 2.5 minutes. Now, you want to carry even more passengers in that same train car. To do this, you start sending the passenger’s luggage separately. Now, there is more space on the wagon for more passengers.
So for every 1 MB Litecoin block, that block carries a transaction and their witnesses (i.e. signatures) every 2.5 minutes. If we start sending the signatures separately, then more transactions would be able to happen in that 1 MB block.
So that’s what Litecoin SegWit did. The Litecoin community separated transactions and signatures, hence increasing the volume of transactions getting verified every 2.5 minutes.
Another mind-blowing feat that Litecoin has achieved after Charlie Lee returned full-time on the project is Atomic Swaps. On 20th September Litecoin and Decred were atomically swapped.
— Decred (@decredproject) September 19, 2017
Atomic swap in simple terms means a kind of on-chain barter exchange of cryptocurrencies. It is a trustless way of exchanging two cryptocurrencies without any intermediary exchange or escrow. This type of exchange has some pre-requisites which should be present in both the cryptocurrencies that are intended to be swapped.
This type of swap or exchange would be very harmful to escrow services or centralized exchanges like Bittrex or Poloniex etc because these atomic swap technology is free to use and has no exchange or transaction fee.
But the other thing to note is that this technology is in its infancy and I believe it would take atleast 12-18 months more before it hits mainstream adoption. If you want more for more technical details of atomic swaps see here and here.
Litecoin & Bitcoin: Differences & Similarities
At the time of this writing, Litecoin is six years old and Bitcoin is eight years old.
Litecoin works in a very similar way to Bitcoin.
Both currencies also have their fair share of the market. Despite the Bitcoin boom, Litecoin has proven to be a safe haven, as it is less volatile, unlike Bitcoin.
A year back, if you made an investment of $1000 in Litecoin, it would be worth around $50,000 at present.
Litecoin also has very minimal transaction fees in comparison to Bitcoin. This makes it as an obvious choice for merchants.
And the transaction confirmation timing is four times faster than Bitcoin.
And now, Litecoin is acting as a testing ground for blockchain solutions such as SegWit, Atomic Swaps, and Lightning Networks. In 2017, Litecoin went on implementing SegWit and experimenting Atomic Swaps, and now it is expected to implement Lightning Networks soon.
Litecoin is a good option for a long-term, less volatile investment for low-risk appetite investors.
Below are some links that may help you stay updated on Litecoin:
- Litecoin (website)
- Litecoin Wiki
- Charlie Lee’s talk at Coinbase
- Litecoin Subreddit
- Litecoin Twitter news
- Litecoin Talk
So when are you buying your first Litecoin? Which wallet are you using to store your Litecoins and other altcoins? Do let me know your comments and feedback in the comments section below!