Commonly referred to the “silver” version of Bitcoin, Litecoin was designed to improve upon what some believe to be faults within Bitcoin’s structure. This digital currency was launched in 2011 by Charlie Lee, a former Google employee. Today, Litecoin continues to remain one of the top cryptocurrencies in circulation.
Marketed as “money for the internet age,” Litecoin (LTC) is a decentralized, peer-to-peer, globalized currency that is based on the blockchain. As such, Litecoin is not held to the same boundaries often associated with traditional, fiat currency, such as the dollar, euro, or yen.
Though Litecoin does represent a completely independent form of currency, the foundation for the it is largely a replication of that used for Bitcoin. However, the differences were and continue to be significant as they support Lee’s primary goal, which was to create a quicker and more efficient (and therefore “lite”) form of cryptocurrency that would lend itself to regular commercial and business use.
Litecoin has a few distinguishing characteristics that some believe make it a superior alternative to Bitcoin. Among those characteristics, the most significant is transaction and confirmation speed. One of the looming short comings associated with Bitcoin is speed.
Today, Litecoin transaction speeds are considered to be four times faster than those associated with Bitcoin. Some feel that this heightened efficiency, which is due in large part to a decrease in block creation time, has the potential of making Litecoin more accessible for consumers and retailers that need to manage smaller transactions in a timely fashion.
In addition to an increased transaction speed, Litecoin also has a higher coin cap. Unlike Bitcoin which will max out at 21 million coins, Litecoin’s design will allow for up to 84 million coins to be mined. Because there are substantially more coins to be mined, Litecoin addresses some of the scalability issues often associated with Bitcoin.
Another Litecoin characteristic that differentiates it from other cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, is the use of the Scrypt algorithm as opposed to SHA-256. This changes the principles of mining, or the action by which more coins are created. SHA-256 lends itself to constant computational competition, allowing minors with more power the opportunity to lead the mining race. Scrypt, which serializes the process, leads to a steady, more democratic mining process.
Since Litecoin is based on the blockchain, Litecoin is not a physical currency form. Instead, the currency exists at a specific location of the blockchain. Those who want to access their currency need to have both the access address as well as a private key.
This information is stored in a “wallet,” which is typically software, hardware, or an offline paper wallet that includes all pertinent information. Those who choose to purchase Litecoin through xCoins will gain access to the xCoin wallet, which is software that allows for quick, efficient, and secure access to Litecoin.
Litecoin can be used to make a variety of transaction, including purchasing IT services, making donations, purchasing retailer gift cards through eGifter, and investing in other types of cryptocurrency.
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