What is Litecoin?
Litecoin was released on October 7, 2011 by Charlie Lee, a Google employee. The Litecoin network went live on October 13, 2011. It was a source code fork of the Bitcoin Core client, differing primarily by having a decreased block generation time (2.5 minutes), increased maximum number of coins, different hashing algorithm (scrypt, instead of SHA-256), and a slightly modified user interface.
In May 2017, Litecoin became the first of the top 5 (by market cap) cryptocurrencies to adopt Segregated Witness. Later in May of the same year, the first Lightning Network transaction was completed through Litecoin, transferring 0.00000001 LTC from Zürich to San Francisco in under one second.
Litecoin is different in some ways from Bitcoin.
- The Litecoin Network aims to process a block every 2.5 minutes, rather than Bitcoin’s 10 minutes. This allows Litecoin to confirm transactions much faster than Bitcoin.
- Litecoin uses scrypt in its proof-of-work algorithm, a sequential memory-hard function requiring more memory than an algorithm which is not memory-hard.
Due to Litecoin’s use of the scrypt algorithm, FPGA and ASIC devices made for mining Litecoin are more complicated to create and more expensive to produce than they are for Bitcoin, which uses SHA-256.
When it comes to Litecoin as a method of payment, in early days there was correlation to Bitcoin in terms of extended payment patterns. Although one might assume that payment patterns of Litecoin would converge to Bitcoin, it has been found that there is little correlation of the payment patterns of Litecoin vs Bitcoin today, and these patterns continue to diverge over time.