It's better known as the 'Silver' to Bitcoin's 'Gold' in the opinions of its developers. Litecoin is one of the challenger coins out there that while holding a relatively static value that is roughly 1 percent that of Bitcoin. As of the time of publishing, Litecoin has a valuation of $82, while Bitcoin is $8,482.
Bit what is it, exactly? And does it continue to stand out as a challenger to the big names of Bitcoin and Ethereum? We'll be digging into the development of Litecoin and what really sets it apart.
Litecoin didn't start off as some direct contender to Bitcoin or ETH, interestingly enough. It actually started off as a derivative of Bitcoin, as a matter of fact. This is a resemblance that it has never really shaken off, and it actually has a lot in common with Bitcoin to this day.
In function, it operates as a peer to peer digital asset, but also as an open-source programme that's easily accessible for users looking to build on top of it. This early concept was released back in early-October 2011 by Charlie Lee with its full network going live on October 13th of the same year.
Lee himself brought a good amount of knowledge to the project. Having previously worked both for Google and the Engineering Director for Coinbase, he brought together a very close-knit team in order to take the hard-fork of Bitcoin Core live.
While competitor coins strive to really set themselves apart from other coins on the market (See EOS and Ethereum among others). Some of the things that make Litecoin different are the fact that includes an increase to the total number of coins in circulation. With Bitcoin having a maximum of 21 million coins, Litecoin will actually consist of 82 million.
This had a particularly interesting influence on the market value of LTC which, in itself, is something of an advantage. According to IBM's Richard Brown in 2013, those looking to engage in payments using LTC will be able to deal in whole units as opposed to fractions, which is a potential advantage for using it.
Both in communication and an architectural sense, Litecoin has a good relationship with Bitcoin. vendors looking to make transactions in Bitcoin, according to Lee during an interview in 2013.
“The nice thing about us is that we’re very similar to bitcoin, so if merchants accept coins for merchandise, it will also be easy for them to accept Litecoin."
From a more technical standpoint, LTC actually stands out as one of the first major crypto assets to adopt Segregated Witness, which is a soft fork which improved data transmission, while protecting users from unintentional spends and increasing block size limits to protect users from DDoS attacks.
Even though it's a close 'relative' of Bitcoin, Litecoin allows for transactions to be processed at a quicker pace than on its bigger cousin, with the latter being capable of processing one block every 2.5 minutes.
There are still arguments to be had over its solution for transaction fees, however. Which does substantially reduce the costs of peer to peer transactions compared to Bitcoin.