Last week we brought you an introduction to Litecoin, but to fully understand the potential of this early cryptocurrency, we need to take a look at its history. Labeled “Digital Silver”, it is built using a very similar framework to Bitcoin – in fact it was actually a fork of Bitcoin at the very start. With a handful of tweaks, changes, and new protocols, Litecoin is proving itself to be a worthy advisory to Bitcoin in 2018. On Tuesday we brought you the history of Bitcoin, and now it’s time to delve into the unique history of Litecoin – so here we go.
The Birth of Litecoin
Litecoin was created by ex-google employee Charlie Lee. He released the initial version of Litecoin via GitHub on October 7th 2011. Lee had been working on modifying the Bitcoin Core code to make it more versatile and more saleable, by reducing block generation time and increasing the total number of coins available. He then created a fork with his new code and launched it under a new name – Litecoin. The Litecoin network went live on October 13th 2011, with the genesis block mined that very same day.
Bitcoin, Just With a Few Tweaks
Litecoin shares many characteristics that are eerily similar to Bitcoin, with these being the remnants from the original fork. However, Lee made a number of improvements before he launched the code officially as Litecoin. He changed the graphical user interface to make the experience of developing and using Litecoin to be more simplistic and user-friendly – something Bitcoin, at times, isn’t quite frankly. In addition to this, Litecoin seeks to solve Bitcoin’s scalability issues by decreasing the block generation time from ten minutes down to a mere two and a half minutes.
A New Hashing Protocol
In addition to the other modifications Lee made, he also decided to implement a new hashing protocol. Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 protocol whereas Litecoin uses Scrypt. The main advantage of Scrypt is the fact it’s very memory intensive, meaning its harder to mine in pools as tasks can’t be loaded asynchronously. This makes Litecoin more secure, with it being harder for anyone to commit a 51% attack on the network.
Beating the Bugs in the System
No human is perfect, especially when it comes to writing code – unless you’re Satoshi Nakamoto. Litecoin had several security vulnerabilities during its early days, as these were being discovered it quickly became an issue for the Litecoin community. Eventually, Litecoin version 0.8.5.1 was released in November 2013 and this patch fixed all known issues at that time. It was heavily adopted amongst the community and soon after the cryptocurrency enjoyed a huge 100% price increase. In April 2014 a fresh patch was released to fix a few more bugs, as Litecoin continues to head down the path of security and stability.
Say Hello to the Lightning Network and Atomic Swaps
If you have been following our blog, you will already know that we are pretty excited about the Lightning Network and the possibilities that it brings to the crypto world. However, there is a huge misconception surrounding the network, Bitcoin isn’t the only crypto adopting it – Litecoin is too. This opened the door to cross-blockchain atomic swaps – meaning users can swap their cryptos without the need for an exchange. The first Litecoin/Bitcoin atomic swap was performed on September 22nd 2017 by none other than Charlie Lee.
— Charlie Lee [LTC⚡] (@SatoshiLite) September 22, 2017
The Lightning Network made Litecoin’s speedy and low-cost transactions even faster and cheaper – which is only a great thing.
Sliding Under the Radar
Unlike its counterpart, Litecoin has largely had a stable price since its inception – bar a handful of spikes and dips. When compared to Bitcoin, this relative stability gives Litecoin merit for adoption as currency and – in theory – should make it a more desirable option for merchants to accept.
By May 2013, Litecoin was trading at around $3.20 and it remained around this level until November 14th 2013. This is when Litecoin had its first big bull run – peaking at $39.20 on December 5th 2013 – before slowly falling back to its regular trading levels. It went on to hover between $1.50 and $4.50 from late 2014 until March 31st 2017. This is where the global crypto hype seemed to catch on and filtered its way through to Litecoin. From March onwards, the price just kept on climbing, until it reached its all-time high of $360.66 on December 18th 2017. This huge all-time high coincided with the global crypto price spike led by Bitcoin.
In line with the majority of other cryptos, Litecoin started to stumble during the early months of 2018 – before landing at $74 on June 29th 2018. But, it seems to have bottomed out for now and is beginning to enjoy a slight recovery and restoration of its price stability.
Litecoin Continues to Move Forward!
Litecoin might not be the most popular cryptocurrency – or be making the biggest waves for that matter – but it certainly has a place in history as Bitcoin’s little brother. Litecoin has an army of loyal followers who will defend its reputation to the teeth – but then so does Ripple. It is making small noises in the crypto world, but is often in the news as more of an accessory, while Bitcoin or Ethereum grabs the main headlines. This is only a brief look into the relatively quiet history of Litecoin. Stay tuned as next week we will be covering more aspects of the Litecoin world, specifically how you can go about buying Litecoin.