Litecoin (LTC) is the native crypto asset for the Litecoin network. It was developed by Charlie Lee in 2011 to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions at a cheaper and faster rate than the Bitcoin blockchain.
Like Bitcoin, Litecoin’s decentralized nature also removes the need for third-party payment intermediaries.
Lee shared that Litecoin is intended to complement Bitcoin. That is, while Bitcoin is a good store of value (“digital gold”) and currency for large transactions, Litecoin is intended to be its “silver” – the payment currency for smaller transactions.
As a digital currency, Litecoin (LTC) can be bought and sold on many crypto exchanges, transferred peer-to-peer through the Litecoin network, and can be used to pay merchants.
In decentralized finance apps, LTC can be lent out to generate interest yield, or it can be used as collateral to borrow other crypto assets or fiat currency.
How does Litecoin work?
Litecoin was forked directly from Bitcoin’s source code, so it generally has the same strengths and weaknesses as Bitcoin’s blockchain technology.
Litecoin also uses Bitcoin’s proof-of-work protocol to get consensus and approve blocks. But while Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hashing algorithm, Litecoin runs an algorithm called Scrypt.
Scrypt doesn’t require as much computational power as SHA-256, so Litecoin mining became available to not only ASIC and GPU-based miners but also to CPU-based miners.
Litecoin’s blockchain also generates one block every 2.5 minutes to Bitcoin’s 10 minutes. This means you can approve transactions 4x faster and, because more miners can operate on Litecoin’s blockchain, you can also get your transactions approved at cheaper rates.
Charlie Lee, an ex-Google software engineer, worked on blockchain technology in his spare time and announced the launch of Litecoin on Bitcointalk in October 2011.
Lee eventually left Google to be Engineering Manager and then Director of Engineering at Coinbase – a crypto exchange that adopted Litecoin.
Lee now works full-time to focus on Litecoin adoption. He manages the Litecoin Foundation with Alan Austin, Zing Yang, and co-founder Xinxi Wang.
- 4.5M LTC addresses created
- Circulating Supply: 71M LTC
- Max Supply: 84M LTC
Notable points in project history
- Charlie Lee announced the Litecoin launch on Bitcointalk in October 2011
- Trading platform BitFinex added Litecoin in May 2013
- Chinese exchange Huobi added Litecoin in March 2014
- Trading platform GDAX added Litecoin in August 2016
- Trading platform Coinbase added Litecoin in May 2017
- Litecoin network activated support for Segregated Witness (SegWit) in May 2017
- First on-chain BTC-LTC swap via Lightning Network in November 2017
- Charlie Lee announced “I have sold/donated all my LTC” in December 2017
- First Litecoin Summit in September 2018
- PayPal included Litecoin on a list of cryptos that customers can buy/sell/ hold in October 2020
- Crypto payment services BitPay added Litecoin in July 2021
- Asymmetry Asset Management
- Digichain Capital
- Parallax Digital
- Block Ventures