Litecoin (LTC) is currently the fifth largest cryptocurrency in the world, and steadily growing. First introduced in 2011, Litecoin gained popularity quickly in the cryptocurrency community. Like all cryptocurrencies, Litecoin is not issued by any government or centralized authority. Litecoin is in fixed supply, so there are only ever 84 million Litecoins in circulation at any given time.
Litecoin vs BitCoin
Bitcoin and Litecoin share significant structural similarities but there are differences: the Litecoin network processes a block every 2.5 minutes, while Bitcoin processes one every 10 minutes. Developers claim this allows Litecoin faster transaction confirmation than Bitcoin.
As mentioned above, Litecoin can never exceed 84 million coins in circulation, and Bitcoin is limited to 21 million coins.
Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 algorithm, while Litecoin uses a fairly new algorithm called Scrypt—this gives Bitcoin a slight advantage in terms of mining coins because its algorithm allows a greater deal of parallel processing.
Some features particular to Litecoin include its being equipped to manage relatively higher transaction volumes, particularly after its deployment of Segregated Witness earlier this year, a highly anticipated and controversial coding modification; wallets and their encryption ensures security and the ability to track previous transactions; LTC open source software gives users the option to modify, run, distribute, and copy the software of their choice.
Litecoin in the Mainstream
Notable corporations that have begun doing business with Litecoin include Mercedez Benz and BMW, where a Tesla Model P58 was sold early this year through an auto dealership that accepted Litecoin. The car, valued at $90,000, was purchased with 5,447 LTC, through GoCoin, and is so far the largest purchase ever made with Litecoin. For many, this is an encouraging development, possibly signaling the steady integration of LTC into mainstream finance.
eGifter, a New York-based corporation that sells gift cards and allows customers to earn points with their purchases, has partnered with GoCoin to introduce BTC and LTC payments into their business. The introduction of cryptocurrency has helped eGifter's bottom line as the change has attracted new customers. Security and fraud are not concerns, according to CEO Tyler Roye, as rather than holding onto the coins, the company converts them back into US dollars using GoCoin.
Sean's Outpost is an outreach organization aimed at assisting the homeless and has integrated digital currencies such as Litecoin into its efforts. The center has provided thousands of meals and sanctuary for people living in poverty, with the help of BTC and LTC donations.
Litecoin has grown almost 8000% this year, making it the world's fifth largest cryptocurrency with market capitalization of over 15 billion. Starting at only $4 at the beginning of 2017, the price of LTC has seen an enormous surge, putting it at around $230 per coin at the time of writing. Just in the last few days, Litecoin has seen a 333% increase in price, mainly because increased Bitcoin activity and futures trading is trickling down to other cryptocurrencies, including Litecoin. In addition, this increased BTC activity is driving up transaction fees and clogging networks, which is diverting buyers and sellers to Litecoin. Coinbase, which trades BTC, ETH, and LTC, has also experienced a massive influx of new users, adding 100,000 new trades everyday.
2017 has seen a meteoric rise in public awareness of cryptocurrencies and many early proponents are taking this to be an indication of its growing popularity and eventual integration into everyday transactions all over the world, while many others remain cautious, if optimistic.