Litecoin Lite (in short: LTC, currency symbol: Ł) is a network currency based on "peer-to-peer" technology and an open source software project under the MIT/X11 license. It helps users pay instantly to anyone in the world. The Litecoin is inspired by Bitcoin (BTC) and technically has the same implementation principle. The creation and transfer of Litecoin is based on an open source encryption protocol that is not managed by any central authority. With substantial industry support, trade volume and liquidity, Litecoin is a proven medium of commerce complementary to Bitcoin.
Litecoin is a fork of Bitcoin's source code that posits itself as "a silver to Bitcoin's gold." Technically, Litecoin is nearly identical to Bitcoin with key differences relating to block time, supply, hashing algorithm, and initial distribution. Litecoin aimed to keep the best aspects of Bitcoin while making some optimizations for its use as a medium of exchange.
Created in October 2011 by ex Google and Coinbase engineer, Charlie Lee. Notably, Litecoin implements 2.5 minute block times and an 84 million max supply. Charlie Lee's original thinking was that quicker block confirmations would increase transaction throughput and reduce the amount of time merchants would need for block confirmations. Additionally, he thought the 84 million max supply would prevent the coin from becoming too scarce and expensive. Litecoin uses Scrypt, a memory intensive hashing algorithm, in order to better allow individuals to mine Litecoin with commodity hardware (although ASICs have been developed for Litecoin mining over the past few years). Finally, Charlie Lee, recognizing the mistakes of the few altcoins launched prior to Litecoin, wanted Litecoin to be launched in a fair manner, electing to only do a 150 coin (3 block) premine to allow people to get in early.
Charlie Lee left Coinbase in June 2017 to head the Litecoin foundation, which stewards the Litecoin project, and finances Litecoin Core development.
Litecoin uses a hashing algorithm called Scrypt. Scrypt is more memory-intensive and slower than SHA-256. But it found greater acceptance in the cryptocurrency community after the 2011 Tenebrix project modified Scrypt to work with regular CPUs for mining.
The Litecoin aims to improve Bitcoin, compared to the Litecoin, which has three significant differences：
First, the Litecoin network can process one block every 2.5 minutes (rather than 10 minutes), thus providing faster transaction confirmation, which is convenient for small merchants who do not want or need their transactions to be super secure.
Second, the Litecoin network is expected to produce 84 million Litecoins, which is four times the amount of money issued by the Bitcoin network.
Third, Litecoin uses the scrypt encryption algorithm first proposed by Colin Percival in its workload proof algorithm, which makes it easier to drill Litecoin on a regular computer compared to Bitcoin. Each Litecoin is divided into 100,000,000 smaller units, defined by eight decimals.
$LTC was released with 150 pre-mined coins and has a total supply of 84 million coins. The cryptocurrency’s blockchain generates a new block every 2.5 minutes. The $LTC supply is designed to reduce over time to preserve the coin's value. As of April 2022, there are 14 million $LTC left to mine.
Halving dates for $LTC:
- Aug. 25, 2015: 50 to 25 LTCs
- Aug. 5, 2019: 25 to 12.5 LTCs
- Aug. 23, 2023 (expected): 12.5 to 6.25 LTCs