We have now reached the top 5 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization in March 2018. The fifth spot is taken by Litecoin at $8.0 billion.
What is Litecoin?
Litecoin was created by Charlie Lee in 2011 as an alternative to Bitcoin. It has a maximum supply limit four times higher than Bitcoin at 84 million, and blocks are processed four times faster. In 2017, it was the first blockchain to use Segregated Witness (SegWit) and the Lightning Network. Litecoin was established as a fork to the original Bitcoin core and switched to the Scrypt hashing algorithm from the SHA-256 algorithm still used by Bitcoin.
Litecoin in detail
Charlie Lee is a former Google employee and was also the Engineering Director at Coinbase before he created Litecoin. When Litecoin was proposed as a solution to some of the scaling issues surrounding Bitcoin, it was considered by many to be a step forward for cryptocurrencies. The 10 minute average block time for Bitcoin wasn’t seen as practical for everyday small value purchases like buying a coffee or a bus ticket.
The lower fees and faster processing times offered by Litecoin appeared to offer a real-world application for blockchain technology. In November 2017, the price of Litecoin more than doubled in a single day. Since Bitcoin have now introduced SegWit and the Lightning Network the benefits of using Litecoin have diminished quite significantly.
Around 56 million coins, of the maximum 84 million, have been mined as of March 2018. The all-time high for Litecoin was in January 2018 at $366.15, and in late March 2018, it was trading at $143.73. The tokens can be traded on all the major crypto exchanges, and these are the top trading pairs with their associated exchanges:
- OKEx LTC/BTC
- OKEx LTC/USDT
- GDAX LTC/USD
- Huobi LTC/USDT
- Bitfinex LTC/USD
- Binance LTC/USDT
Charlie Lee took to Reddit in December 2017 to say that he had disposed of all his Litecoins and the price immediately fell by 10%. It’s quite rare for the founder of any business to sell their entire investment unless they are planning to move on to another business. At the time, he said it was because there was a conflict of interest created by his regular Litecoin-related tweets and holding the coins.
He has 746,000 followers on Twitter, so he is correct to say that he could have influenced the price of Litecoin to his financial advantage. Most people know that founders are bullish about their own business, partly because they will gain financially if the price goes up. He could have decided to stop tweeting about Litecoin, but in fairness, social media marketing is part of the job description for many cryptocurrency founders. Breaking news for Litecoin can be found via the following social media channels.
- Medium – progress updates for Litecoin Core
- Slack – only available for Litecoin developers
Financial analyst, smartphone app designer, technical writer, and crypto enthusiast. Blockchain verified graduate of MOOC 9, DFIN-511: Introduction to Digital Currencies, run by the University of Nicosia.