What is Litecoin? All you need to know

what is litecoin, all you have to know
Litecoin (LTC or Ł) is a peer to peer cryptocurrency that enables instant, near-zero cost payment to anyone in the world. As an open source software project, it was released under the MIT/X11 license, and the creation and transfer of the coin is based on an open source cryptographic protocol that is not managed by any central authority.

Litecoin as decentralized currency for the internet age is free of censorship and open to anyone. It is private, secure, borderless payments for pennies anytime, anywhere, and capable of handling a greater number of transactions in given time, and thus reducing potential bottlenecks as seen with Bitcoin.

Litecoin is nearly identical to Bitcon, and is actually a spinoff of Bitcoin (a fork off the Bitcoin core client) or altcoin, and was released through an open-source client on GitHub way back in October 7, 2011 through a former employee of Google, Charlie Lee – also a former engineering director at Coinbase, who had a vision to create a lighter version of Bitcoin. Litecoin network went live on October 13, 2011 with a maximum supply of 84 million LTC.

During the month of November 2013, the aggregate value of Litecoin experienced massive growth which include 100% leap within 24hrs, and reaches $1 billion market capitalization. In May 2017, Litecoin became the first of the top 5 (by market capitalization) cryptocurrency to adopt Segregation Witness, and later in May of the same year, the first Lightening Network transaction was completed through Litecoin, transferring 0.00000001nLTC from Zurich to San Francisco in under one second.

While Bitcoin was seen as “gold” and store of value for long-term purposes with block explorer of Blockchain.info (now consolidated into Blockchain.com), Litecoin was seen as the “silver” and means of transaction for cheaper and everyday purposes with block explorers of explorer.litecoin.net, chainz.cryptoid.info and live.blockcypher.com/. Its official website is Litecoin.org and Litecoin.com/.

Litecoin transaction times (average block mining speed) are generally shorter than that of Bitcoin due to its reduced block generation time of 2.5 minutes when compared to Bitcoin’s 10 minutes, and therefore, extremely useful for merchants who need to carry out a lot of mini-transactions per day to use Litecoin and get like 2 confirmations within 5 minutes compared to Bitcoin that may takes up to 10 minutes for 1 confirmation.

Litecoin are created by the elaborate procedure called mining, which consists of processing a list of litecoin transactions. And, just like Bitcoin, litecoin uses a Proof of Work (PoS) consensus mechanism as their mining procedure; the litecoin network generates what is called a block – a ledger entry of recent litecoin transaction throughout the world, being where the inherent value of litecoin is being derived. 
Litecoin miners (same with Bitcoin) use their computational power to solve extremely hard cryptographic puzzles. The puzzle solving needs to be extremely difficult, if it is simple then the miners will keep miner blocks and drain out the bitcoin or litecoin supply. While the puzzle solving is hard, checking to see if the solution of the puzzle is correct or not should be simple, and thus, bringing us to the proof of work. However, both bitcoin and litecoin go about this a little differently.

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While Bitcoin uses the “SHA-256” hashing algorithm for its mining purposes that require a lot of mining or processing power that give rise to a specialized “Application-Specific Integrated Circuits” aka ASICs, Litecoin however uses “scrypt” (which was formerly called s-crypt) hashing algorithm and a slightly modified GUI, which favors large amounts of high-speed RAM, rather than raw processing power alone, and deliberately designed to make sure that mining is accessible and democratized as possible. This reduces the effectiveness of ASIC miners, which thus increases it decentralization attributes.

For over a year, Litecoin has remained in the top 10 cryptocurrencies, and as at the written of this article, Litecoin is ranked 7th in market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies according to Coinmarketcap. As more and more people are getting the awareness of cryptocurrency and embracing it, people are looking for a profitable investment opportunity other than Bitcoin and Ethereum. Litecoin clearly look like a popular choice. Don’t forget that from the beginning of 2017, the price of LTC surged by 7,291% in comparison with BTC that surged 1731%.

Litecoin can be bought from various realiable crypto exchanges like Binance, Bitrex, Livecoin etc, and can also be bought through peer to peer (individual seller to buyer). However, to buy coins using peer to peer individual, you have to be very sure that the person is trust worthy to avoid being scammed or given incomplete fraction or unit of the coins you paid for. The best way to buy your Litecoin or any other cryptocurrency is to buy from exchanges. To that effect, you can read:

After buying Litecoin, it can also be stored in several different digital wallets like hardware wallet, desktop or mobile wallet, paper wallet, etc. Litecoin hardware wallet (Ledger wallet) is one of the safest and cheapest way to store your Litecoin offline. If you are not financially buoyant to purchase hardware wallet - Ledger Nano or Trezor, you can comfortably use paper wallets by making one at liteaddress.org/. You can go to this website and create your pair of private/public keys in oder to ensure you store it in a safe place. Any of these wallets (hardware, paper, cool storage, etc) can enable you to track the value of your coins, and equally send them out to any third party wallet address. 

Litecoin has a big and responsive community, especially, as seen from their reddit channel. And, given it early mover advantage; LTC has become one of the most widely accepted cryptocurrencies with many existing and growing payment channels. However, Litecoin has many competitors in the day-to-day transaction space like Dash coin, Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin, each possessing strong community and loyal followers.
As Bitcoin continue to scale and develop into an increasingly efficient blockchain, Litecoin may lose its edge as the faster payment alternative, coupled with more second and third generation coins being introduced to the market, LTC might struggle to retain its market share.

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