With the advent of cryptocurrencies in 2009, the stage was set for the world to move towards a cashless reality. Obviously, with so many third-world countries having poor – if any – internet access, this dream is still a far way off, but the framework has been set. Bitcoin was the first of these virtual currencies, but for all the ground that was broken with its innovation, there were, of course, some shortcomings which subsequent cryptocurrencies sought to improve upon.
Just two years after Bitcoin was launched, the second digital currency, Litecoin, made its appearance. The primary improvements that Litecoin offers over Bitcoin are a faster block generation rate and (eventually) more coins available on the market.
Over the course of 2017, the price of Litecoin has gone from 3.87 at the beginning of the year to as high as $92 at the beginning of September, before slipping back to the mid-50s range. As of this writing, LTC/USD is $56.60.
Litecoin, like Bitcoin, is a peer-to-peer (P2P) virtual currency that is not under the control of a central authority. In fact, Litecoin was developed based on the model of Bitcoin, and the two have more in common than there are differences. But the differences are very significant.
The first primary difference is the speed in which transactions can be confirmed. A Bitcoin transaction can take up to approximately 10 minutes, whereas that of Litecoin is about one-quarter that.
While both Bitcoin and Litecoin have preset limits as to how many virtual coins will be produced, Litecoin’s target of 84 million is four times that of Bitcoin, which means that the supply will be able to meet the demand for a much longer time.
Finally, the algorithms employed by Litecoin for its proof of work are less complex than those of Bitcoin, and more accessible to users with less powerful computers. This enables more miners to add blocks to the blockchain, thus earning Litecoins in the process