"Litecoin is a peer-to-peer Internet currency that enables instant, near-zero cost payments to anyone in the world. Litecoin is an open source, global payment network that is fully decentralized without any central authorities. Mathematics secures the network and empowers individuals to control their own finances. Litecoin features faster transaction confirmation times and improved storage efficiency than the leading math-based currency. With substantial industry support, trade volume and liquidity, Litecoin is a proven medium of commerce complementary to Bitcoin."
Litcoin's block time averages 1 new block every 2.5 minutes; versus every 10 minutes with Bitcoin. Faster transaction confirmation makes litecoin more conducive to processing everyday transactions, because users do not have to wait as long to have their purchases confirmed.
In December 2017, Lee announced that he sold or donated almost all of his Litecoin holdings (except for a few that were minted as physical collectibles) due to a perceived conflict of interest. He has been heavily criticized for this decision, because it is often perceived as a negative vote of confidence when the creator of a project doesn't own stake in it; have aligned incentives for the project's success.
Litecoin continues to secure a spot in the top market cap.
As of July 2019, Litecoin is partnering with companies that will allow it to be accepted as payment by an increasing number of retailers. See "Major Investors & Partnerships" section below.
In August of 2019, Litecoin underwent another halving of block rewards for its miners, from 25 litecoins per block generated, to 12.5 litecoins per block generated. See "Token Distribution & Inflationary Controls" section below, for more details on how halving affects a cryptocurrency.
The Litecoin Foundation has a full and transparent list of its directors, developers, key contributors, and ambassadors. This Litecoin Foundation website also gives means to contact the Litecoin leadership team.
Miners are awarded with 12.5 newly minted litecoins per block, an amount which decreased from 25 per block, in August of 2019.
Decreasing the generated supply of any asset, while holding demand constant, will increase the value and price of that asset. Limiting the supply of a currency helps to preserve its purchasing power by not allowing over-generation to decrease its relative value.
Litecoin miners make money when the revenue generated from mining the litecoins exceeds the cost (electricity, hardware, etc.) of running the miners. Thus, when a halving takes place, there is half the amount of incentive for miners to mine blocks and support validating transactions in the network, often contributing to a short run decrease in hashrate. If not as many miners are are producing blocks (which generates more supply of litecoin), then the supply decreases even further, causing even more of an increase in the price and value of litecoin.
Eventually the price and value of litecoin increases to a level that re-incentivizes miners to mine blocks and validate the network; receive the block rewards that now have enough relative value to justify the cost of them running miners. At the time of the litecoin halving in August of 2015, hashrate dropped by 15 percent, before rebounding in the following two weeks.
The Litecoin network is set to produce 84 million litecoins in total supply, which is 4 times as much as Bitcoin. Assuming Litecoin sticks to the 84m supply cap, the price per litecoin has a chance of going very high, if demand remains strong.
NOTE: Although designed to be decentralized, there are a few large mining pools that are responsible for generating a vast majority of litecoin supply.
As I mention for supply of EVERY asset, ever- "The supply only matters as much as there is demand to outpace it, and by how much. This is what determines price/value."
The sCrypt algorithm is less energy intensive when it comes to miners validating blocks, which is what contributes to the faster block time, relative to SHA-256 cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin. The sCrypt hashing algorithm requires kilohashes (thousands) and megahashes (millions) of hashes per second for miners to remain competitive at producing the next block, thus achieving the associated block reward. The SHA-256 hashing algorithm requires gigahashes (billions), terrahashes (trillions), and even petahashes (quadrillions) per second for miners to remain competitive. Critics of sCrypt site that, although faster, sCrypt is less secure- requiring less work to be proved in order to validate a block of transactions.
The sCrypt hashing algorighm was originally used in cryptography to deter large scale custom hardware (ASIC) attacks by requiring a large amount of memory to run the algorithm. The large memory requirements of sCrypt come from a large vector of bit strings that are generated as part of the hashing algorithm. Once the vector is generated, the elements of it are accessed in a pseudo-random order and combined to produce the derived key. A straightforward implementation would need to keep the entire vector in RAM so that it can be accessed as needed.
Because elements of the vector are generated algorithmically, each element can be generated on the fly, as needed- only storing one element in memory at a time and therefore cutting the memory requirements significantly. However, the generation of each element is intended to be computationally expensive, and the elements are expected to be accessed many times throughout the execution of the function. Thus there is a significant tradeoff in speed in order to get rid of the large memory requirements.
This time and memory tradeoff often exists in hashing algorithms: speed can be increased at the cost of using more memory, or memory requirements decreased at the cost of performing more operations and taking longer. The idea behind sCrypt is to deliberately make this tradeoff costly in either direction. Thus an attacker can use an implementation that doesn't require many resources (and can therefore be massively parallelized with limited expense) but runs very slowly, or use an implementation that runs more quickly but has very large memory requirements and is therefore more expensive to parallelize (carry out many computations simultaneously, usually by using an ASIC).
Even though many cryptocurrencies chose the sCrypt hashing algorithm due to its ASIC-resistant (memory intensive) nature, as of 2014, ASICS have been built to mine sCrypt based cryptocurrencies.
If nodes were more decentralized and widely distributed, then Litcoin would be considered relatively secure because the development of the network has outpaced a reasonable and economically worthwhile way to attack it. The fact that the Litecoin was "off the radar" for most attackers for many years while the chain was developing, helped it to develop into a robust blockchain that would take a prohibitive amount of resources to compromise. However, in reality, because there are only 2 mining pools responsible for supporting over 50 percent of the network, these entities can easily collude to conduct a 51% attack on the Litcoin blockchain.
As and additional security feature, Litecoin employs the use of wallet encryption. Wallet encryption allows users to secure their wallet by requiring them to enter their password before spending litecoins. This provides protection from viruses and trojans designed to steal wallets.
Litecoin is not a platform. Projects that have platforms to be built upon may have competitive advantage.
MAJOR INVESTORS & PARTNERSHIPS
Because of its early release and ongoing support within the crypto community, Litecoin is listed on a large number of exchanges.
As of July 2019, Litecoin partnered with Flexa, allowing it to be accepted as payment at over 39,000 locations.
Although the Litecoin codebase is open source and globally decentralized, the Litecoin Foundation is domiciled in Singapore. Although Singapore has been consistently more crypto-friendly than China, and many other nations, they are still vigilent when it comes to due dilligence and licensing of cryptocurrency-based businesses, in order to minimize opportunities for money laundering and terrorism financing.
BA in Economics. BS in Finance. Hostess of the Crypt Keepers’ Club. Passionate about research and data. I don’t fold sheets, I spread them.
Connect with Me:
Note that you must be logged into Facebook to be directed to my page.
DISCLAIMER: Keep in mind that information on this site is only from my perspective, and this industry is constantly evolving. Do more research. Be accountable for your decisions. ALL INVESTMENTS ARE DONE SO AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Have something constructive to add? Do so in this comment box, below. BE KIND! Insecure egos do not appeal to anyone's better nature.