Cryptocurrencies have been parading down the red carpet for some time now, lapping up the limelight. The well-known volatility of the crypto market has added to the excitement and hype. But where did it all start? This Medium series from Contentworks takes a look at the history of some of crypto’s top players and how each digital asset shot to stardom. Let’s delve into the evolution of Litecoin.
What is Litecoin?
You’ve probably heard the name of this crypto floating around for a while now. But what’s it all about? Well, Litecoin was created in 2011 by developer and former Google employee Charlie Lee and has often been referred to as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. This is largely because it uses a majority of the Bitcoin codebase but remains a separate chain which has become increasingly popular — although not quite as popular in terms of market cap as its Bitcoin predecessor which remains at the top.
That said; Litecoin has many benefits over Bitcoin including faster transaction speeds, with block times of just 2.5 minutes. The consensus protocol known as scrypt is also believed to be fairer and safer than the ‘SHA-256’ Proof-of-Work miners use in Bitcoin. One of the main features of Scrypt is the fact it’s very memory intensive. This means it is much harder to mine in pools as tasks can’t be loaded asynchronously making it much harder for anyone to commit a 51% attack on the network.
The Litecoin Mission
Described at the ‘money for the Internet age’ Litecoin was designed with a very specific mission in mind — to be a peer-to-peer internet currency that enables instant, near zero cost payments around the world. It’s was also created to support Bitcoin’s aim to solve the word’s ever-growing and complex payment needs. And it’s this forward-thinking and unique approach that helped Litecoin spiral into the mainstream — but only after a few teething problems. Bugs plagued the network for a while which acted as a huge roadblock to progression and affected the trust of the Litecoin community.
But this all changed in November 2013 when Litecoin version 0.8.5.1 was released. This patch fixed all known issues and allowed Litecoin’s popularity to soar. Indeed, the LTC digital asset reached $1 billion in market cap by 2013 — just two years after being officially launched.
The Rise of Litecoin
Litecoin somewhat lived in Bitcoin’s shadows. But it remained a key player in the industry taking a considerable leap in 2013. Its surge in popularity was based around many factors. Firstly, mining could take place on a simple computer without the need for expensive mining rigs. Secondly, a greater number of coins were being produced in comparison to other cryptos. And thirdly, people loved the flexibility of the Litecoin team who adapted code and experimented frequently to make necessary improvements. Regular upgrades also made sure that all Litecoin software flowed well.
Adoption of Segregated Witness
Litecoin remained in the spotlight with LTC taking second and third spot in terms of market cap for a long time. In May 2017, LTC adopted the Segregated Witness protocol, jumping on Bitcoin’s upgrade process. This established the Lightening Network in the Litecoin software and transaction speeds became significantly faster causing LTC prices to surge from $3 to $300. Litecoin reached an all-time high of $360.66 on 18th December 2017.
What was also really cool about the Lightening Network upgrade is that it made cross-blockchain atomic swaps a breeze. Essentially, it allowed users to swap their cryptos without the need for an exchange. The first Litecoin/Bitcoin atomic swap was performed on 22nd September 2017 by Charlie Lee himself.
Peaks and Dips
Litecoin’s price rise came at a time when the world was really waking up to the potential of crypto. It fell in line with Bitcoin’s price hike. But such success was short lived. The start of 2018 was a difficult period for both Bitcoin and Litecoin with exchange hacks and a pushback from traders seeing prices dip. Litecoin dropped out of the $300-range and fell to $74 on 29th June 2018.
Litecoin is currently at 7th place in terms of market cap of the world’s biggest cryptos. Prices have stabilised and recovered slightly and with a hugely loyal community that will defend Litecoin’s reputation to the teeth, this coin continues to bubble away in the background. After a brief hiatus working for Coinbase, creator Charlie Lee is also back working on the project.
What do you think of Litecoin? Tweet us @_contentworks or comment below and let us know your thoughts.