Litecoin is one of the oldest cryptocurrencies in existence, being created by former Google employee Charlie Lee in October 2011. Litecoin’s name is a reference to the decreased block size compared to Bitcoin. A new Litecoin block is mined every 2.5 minutes, while Bitcoin’s blocks take 10 minutes. This allows for far faster transaction confirmation compared to Bitcoin.
Litecoin has also been ahead of the curve in adopting improvements which have been suggested for Bitcoin. Implementation of segregated witness proved hugely controversial within the Bitcoin community, while Litecoin fully implemented this transaction-quickening technology in May. Shortly after, Litecoin implemented the lightening network, another improvement which has long been debated for Bitcoin.
Virtually every cryptocurrency has made massive gains in 2017 and Litecoin is no exception. From a low of $3.76 on February 26, Litecoin value began shooting up in April, both in relation to the US Dollar and to Bitcoin. A peak of $84.72 was hit on September 1, but this was followed by wild fluctuation and a quick fall back beneath the $50 level. Litecoin finally broke the $80 barrier again on November 25 and surpassed a 0.01 BTC exchange value shortly afterward.
Litecoin’s value has shot up exponentially since then, breaking $100 on December 8 and hitting an all-time high of $164.27 less than 24 hours later. The value has receded since then, but Litecoin is still trading at above $155 at the time of writing.
While the growth of Litecoin’s dollar value is truly remarkable, it may be the breaking of the 0.01 BTC barrier that proves to be most important to Litecoin’s long-term success. Litecoin hasn’t traded at above 0.01 BTC since November 2015. The current surge in value comes at a time when Bitcoin is hitting insane all-time highs that would’ve been unthinkable a year ago. While Bitcoin has never been more valuable, its limitations have also never been more obvious.
The massive rally in Bitcoin’s valuation over the past few weeks has seen transaction fees and processing time soar. The more popular and valuable Bitcoin becomes, the less attractive it is as a usable digital currency.
Litecoin has always been lightyears ahead of Bitcoin in this regard. Long-term holders have considered Litecoin to be massively undervalued compared to other cryptocurrencies. It now looks like they may be being proven right.
Litecoin is one of the easiest cryptocurrencies to invest one. Coinbase is growing rapidly as investors across North America and Europe look to get involved with the cryptocurrency boom. Along with Bitcoin and Ethereum, Litecoin is one of the three cryptocurrencies that Coinbase allows to be easily bought with US Dollars, Euros, and British Pounds.
It’s likely that Litecoin is also benefitting from the chaos caused by the popularity of Ethereum’s CryptoKitties game. The game has proved an unexpected hit, with users spending tens of thousands of dollars for the most sought-after felines on the cat breeding game. Transfers involving CryptoKitties have completely congested the Ethereum network, massively slowing down transaction times and delaying the launch of some Initial Coin Offerings.
While Ethereum is much more than just a cryptocurrency, faster transaction times are a big advantage it has held over Bitcoin. With CryptoKitties taking this advantage away, Litecoin’s emphasis on speed has made it more attractive than ever.
Bitcoin is now increasingly seen as a form of digital gold rather than a truly liquid cryptocurrency. Litecoin is perfectly positioned to take up the mantle of the first-choice option for fast digital payments.
It’s too early to tell if the current surge in its value will be sustained long-term, but there are many who think Litecoin is still a steal at $150.