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What is Litecoin?

Litecoin saw the light of day back in 2011. A former Google employee, Charlie Lee, saw that Bitcoin had some problems and decided to jump into that gap. Litecoin is very similar to Bitcoin, as Bitcoin's open source code was taken as the blueprint for Litecoin. Nodes and miners maintain the blockchain network and you can pay with it all over the world. Litecoin transactions are 4x faster than Bitcoin's, but with a wait time of 2.5 minutes you still can't call it very fast. This has to do with mining, which we will come back to later. There are up to 84 million Litecoins, all mined at about the same time as Bitcoin, i.e. around 2140. They call themselves "The cryptocurrency for payments." Given this motto, it is clear what Lee had in mind when he founded this network.

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How does Litecoin work?

Litecoin, like Bitcoin, thus aims to be a peer to peer digital payment system. Charlie Lee was impressed with Bitcoin, given that he used its open source code to create Litecoin.

However, he also saw some problems looming and wanted to solve some of them. Litecoin is also open source. One of those problems was approving transactions, which with Bitcoin can take up to 10 minutes. The reason is simple: a block is added to Bitcoin's blockchain every 10 minutes. So if you are unlucky, you have to wait ten minutes or even longer before your transaction in Bitcoin goes through. Charlie felt that this could be done faster and made sure that every 2.5 minutes a new block is created on Litecoin's blockchain. Apparently, this was the time of zen, because in many people's eyes that is still a long time to wait for your transaction to go through, which is instantaneous with many blockchains. But then again, these were the early days of cryptocurrency and you have to start somewhere. Although the technology of atomic swaps had been around since 2013, Charlie Lee really brought it to life in 2017. The atomic swap is a peer to peer trading technique, where you exchange coins between users without a third party like an exchange in between. As a result, transaction costs are usually very low. Another aspect of Bitcoin is that there is such a large concentration of mining pools, which actually grab all the Bitcoins together, giving individual miners the edge. This creates great centralization of Bitcoins, which Lee didn't like. He looked at Bitcoin's mining process and changed it to allow regular miners to mine Litecoin as well. To do this, he used the Scrypt algorithm, which does not allow you to pool computing power from multiple computers, instead of the SHA-256 algorithm like Bitcoin. This worked well for a long time, until the price of Litecoin rose and the mining of Litecoin also became a bit more centralized as the people with the best hardware got the most coins. Litecoin thus works with proof of work, meaning that whoever solves a difficult puzzle first gets to create a new block on the blockchain and gets the transaction fee plus new coins in return. A new block is added to the Litecoin blockchain every 2.5 minutes and there will be a total of 84 million Litecoins when the last one is mined. You may also keep track of the network as a node, say as a ledger accountant, but you don't get extra coins for that. Litecoin has much lower fees than Bitcoin, making it a lot more attractive to payment networks. They have never lost this popularity. Where Bitcoin is seen as digital gold, Litecoin is seen as digital silver. It is very easy to send Litecoin around the world without much cost and it is widely used. The Litecoin Foundation based in Singapore and chaired by Charlie Lee is concerned with further developing Litecoin and giving Litecoin a positive impact on the community.

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Extra information about Litecoin (LTC)

The history of Litecoin

Oct. 9, 2011 Charlie Lee announced the launch of Litecoin on 3 days later, the genesis block was mined. Oct. 13, 2011 Litecoin was published via GitHub by Charlie Lee, ex-Google and graduate of MIT. This is where a major difference from Bitcoin immediately occurs. Whereas Satoshi Nakamoto is a pseudonym, the creator of Litecoin is well known. Lee wanted to create a light version of Bitcoin, which explains the name of this cryptocurrency. Within a few months, the price climbed to $30 cents and fluctuated between ten cents and three dollars from 2011 to 2013. By the end of 2013 during the bull market, it was already worth $50. After Mt. Gox, the coin lost a lot of value and went around for roughly 1-3 dollars.

In 2017, Lee introduced the atomic swap to Litecoin transactions. Segwit was also implemented. During the bull market of late 2017, this coin hit its stride. It was worth $371 then, during the insane bull market of late 2017 and early 2018. Since then, Litecoin has always maintained a high ranking: around the top twenty in CoinGecko. 2017 was a tumultuous year for Litecoin. The Litecoin Foundation was established, the SegWit update was applied and Charlie Lee sold all his Litecoins. The latter because every time he posted something positive or negative on Twitter, he was accused of manipulating the price for his own gain. He remained active for Litecoin, though.

Later, Litecoin showed that they quite like Harry Potter with their MimbleWimble update. A HogEx (Hogwarth Express) transaction provides more privacy by allowing only the participants in a transaction to see how much is being sent. By using CoinJoin, multiple transactions can be entered into a single block, so no one knows who sent what. Furthermore, you need a "viewing key" to see their "stealth addresses."

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