Litecoin, created by ex-Google employee Charlie Lee some 18 months after the launch of Bitcoin, seeks to be the “silver to Bitcoin’s gold.” Being a copy/paste or “fork” of the original Bitcoin code, Litecoin follows the same ideas in all but one fundamental respect; it uses a mining algorithm called Scrypt rather than the original SHA-256D. Blocks are also generated 2.5 minutes apart, faster than Bitcoin’s 10 minutes – which can make verification of payment faster.
At the time of publishing Litecoin holds the #5 spot in terms of market capitalization.
Why does anyone need Litecoin?
Having alternatives and competition is always a good idea. In recent times BTC has become slow and costly to use, opening up an opportunity for alternative currencies (known collectively as “altcoins”) such as LTC to flourish.
In a sense the price of a single BTC can also be a psychological barrier to purchase, one which is far lower in the case of LTC. Like all altcoins, the price of Litecoin tends to follow the behaviour and fortunes of Bitcoin and it has an established track record of stability. There is little additional risk in holding Litecoin as an investment.
In terms of mining profitability Litecoin is still viable for a relatively small operator, although the days of mining it with a home computer and a few graphics cards are long gone. Today’s miner uses Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs).
Won’t LTC be left behind technically?
Being a fork of the original code, LTC is able to follow upgrades to BTC easily. In fact it was the first coin to implement the rather controversial Segregated Witness (SegWit) scheme intended for Bitcoin. There was little risk to LTC since its mined blocks were far from full, so in a way doing this gave proponents of the scheme a risk-free way to test segwit under real working conditions.
Being a sort of “crash test dummy” for BTC has given LTC a little more credibility, at least in the eyes of the Blockstream faction supporting segwit as a scaling solution.
Is Litecoin a good investment?
As much as any crypto-currency can be seen as an investment – and traditionalist financial sources would have us believe it’s all a ponzi scheme or a bubble – LTC can be regarded as one of the better ones. This is reflected in its market position, which indicates solid market confidence.
To check prices and market positions of all crypto currencies I recommend using CoinMarketCap. Clicking on the name of any currency links to more detailed information about it.
Once you have your Litecoin from a SatoshiPoint ATM make sure you do your due diligence on whatever wallet provider or platform you decide to use. The Litecoin.org site lists numerous wallets for desktop and smartphone, so that users can pick and choose the one they prefer. And you can refer to the Litecoin subreddit to ask questions from your fellow Litecoin users.
Want to find our more? Check out this video about Litecoin.
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