Litecoin is a decentralized, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that was created by Charlie Lee in October 2011. It's a fast, reliable, low-fee, and highly secure borderless payment network.
Unlike government or central bank currencies that are issued ad infinitum, Litecoin are minted on the Litecoin network through work and complex mathematical rules. As such, there will never be more than 84,000,000 Litecoin ever created. The fact that the supply of Litecoin will never arbitrarily expand is one of its most compelling attributes.
Litecoin is divisible, portable, durable, fungible, transferable, and open to all. With Litecoin, anyone can "be their own bank" by simply downloading a Litecoin wallet. No trusted third parties or institutions are required.
Litecoin was created to complement Bitcoin rather than compete with it. According to Charlie Lee, Litecoin is best understood as "silver to Bitcoin's gold." This analogy is self-evident as throughout much of world history gold and silver both functioned as independent monies.
While Bitcoin and Litecoin are nearly identical in terms of code, their differences are significant.
Max Supply: Bitcoin @ 21,000,000; Litecoin @ 84,000,000
Transaction Speed: Bitcoin @ 10 minutes; Litecoin @ 2.5 minutes
Transaction Fees: Bitcoin @ $3.25 (average); Litecoin @ $0.02 (average)
Hashing Algorithm: Bitcoin uses SHA-256; Litecoin uses Scrypt
Litecoin is a blockchain technology and the Litecoin Network is a blockchain network. As its name suggests, a blockchain is a chain (or sequence) of blocks. A block consists of Litecoin transaction data. On the Litecoin Network, blocks are cleared every 2.5 minutes which means that new Litecoin transactions are clustered and cleared every two and a half minutes. Litecoin's blockchain has been expanding every 2.5 minutes since October 13, 2011, when the network was opened. (Charlie Lee mined the genesis Litecoin block on October 8, 2011.)
Litecoin is a public blockchain. This means all activity on the Litecoin Network is open for full review. This is where block explorers are of value. Put simply, a block explorer is like an internet search engine — it lets anyone enter a request and search for results. Requests can be a transaction identification number (TXID) or a wallet address.
There are several Litecoin block explorers today, and these allow anyone to search all new and historical Litecoin transactions. Our favorites are Blockchair, Litecoin Block Explorer, Blockcypher and Litecoin Space.
*With the Mimble Wimble Extension Block (MWEB) upgrade, Litecoin extension block confidential transactions are shielded from the public Litecoin ledger. Use the MWEB Explorer to search extension block transactions on Litecoin.
Litecoin halvings occur roughly every four years — they are programmed scarcity events that determine the number of Litecoin block rewards for miners. Every four years the Litecoin block reward “halves” reducing the number new Litecoin minted per block until the Litecoin max supply of 84 million is realized.
Litecoin (LTC) is one of the most widely available cryptocurrencies. It is available on every major cryptocurrency exchange and is also available on the vast majority of Bitcoin ATMs.
Litecoin is always held within a Litecoin wallet. A Litecoin wallet may be set up privately — on a computer or smart device, or with special hardware — or within a cryptocurrency exchange.
If you use a popular exchange such as Coinbase to purchase Litecoin, your Litecoin will be stored within your personal Coinbase Litecoin wallet. The same is true if you make a Litecoin purchase on Gemini -- Gemini will store your Litecoin within a Gemini Litecoin wallet.
While it is possible to leave your Litecoin "on exchange," we recommend holding your Litecoin in a private wallet where only you hold the key. A private key is, as its name suggests, your tool to access your private wallet. It is a multi-word string of randomly generated words that you must remember and never share. Your private key is what allows you to access your wallet funds. If you share your key with another person, that person will have equal access to your funds. The good news is, if you keep your key safe your funds will be safe. It's that simple. So write your key down and keep it secure — and it's a best practice to not make digital copies or take pictures of it.
There's no limit to the number of wallets you create. You can have one wallet or multiple wallets and you can transfer your Litecoin between your wallets — the choice is yours! Just keep your keys safe, always.
Hardware wallets: Trezor
Paper wallets: Info via Ecurrencyhodler.
*Wallet also functions as a Litecoin node.
While Litecoin is available on an increasing number of stock-trading platforms such as the Robinhood app, Litecoin is not a stock.
Litecoin is a global, decentralized digital currency.
Rather than a representative ownership share of a corporation, Litecoin is money. This is an important distinction. Stocks are not designed to be used for payments or to move hand-to-hand as a medium of exchange at point-of-sale.
Litecoin is not governed by any central agency or institution and its issuance -- with an ultimate fixed supply of 84 million LTC — has been programmed from its genesis block, never to be changed.
*For those interested in investing in Litecoin in a traditional sense—viz. a private brokerage account—Grayscale’s Litecoin Investment Trust (LTCN) may be considered.
Yes, each of these platforms allows users to buy, hold, and sell Litecoin (LTC). PayPal and Venmo make it easy to obtain Litecoin with a few finger taps, however these applications are much more limited than a private wallet.
With Litecoin as a premier blockchain-powered money, this question is a natural one. While we believe that two parties ultimately have a right to decide the details of any transaction — whether goods and services are exchanged for dollars, chickens, Litecoin, etc. — we understand this philosophical position is not easily realized within the framework of the legacy financial system and corporate payroll environments.
Unfortunately, we are not aware of a service that allows for a seamless payroll transition into Litecoin. Formerly, Hedge Crypto provided this service; however, they are no longer operating in this capacity in the United States due to regulatory concerns.
Litecoin is used as money around the world—person to person, on cryptocurrency exchanges, on retail websites (including ours), at auto dealerships, travel agencies, etc.
Our friends at Litecoin Atlas have built an app to track where you can pay with Litecoin. Visit Litecoin Atlas and begin exploring!
Bitcoin and Litecoin launched without confidential transactions. Being public records of account every transaction on the Bitcoin and Litecoin networks is searchable on block explorers such as Blockcypher and Blockchair. Block explorers allow anyone to search transaction identification numbers (TxIDs) as well as wallet addresses. While this makes it simple for you to monitor your balances and blockchain activity, keep in mind that anyone else who may know your address has access to the same information.
Mimble Wimble Extension Block (MWEB)
In January 2019, Charlie Lee announced his efforts to bring privacy and fungibility to Litecoin. It was decided that Mimble Wimble would be integrated into Litecoin as an extension block to facilitate this and David Burkett was tasked with its development. The MWEB build, which spanned more than two years, constituted the largest-ever Litecoin upgrade. MWEB miner signaling hit 75% on May 2, 2022 and the upgrade was officially locked in to the network at block 2257920 later the same month.
With MWEB activated, confidential transactions are now optionally available on the Litecoin network. This upgrade significantly distinguishes Litecoin from Bitcoin as a better more fungible form of digital money.
View the MWEB Block expl by orer at mwebexplorer.com.
For a general discussion of the Mimble Wimble protocol, consider this article by Jie Yee Ong.
OmniLite was officially released by the Litecoin Foundation in September 2021. It allows for the creation of decentralized tokens issued on top of the Litecoin network as well as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and smart contracts. OmniLite, in essence, is a layering protocol built on top of the Litecoin network which allows developers to utilize the highly secure Litecoin blockchain and low-fee environment.
An ordinal is an inscription on a single Litoshi, the smallest circulating unit within the Litecoin blockchain ecosystem. 1.0 Litoshi is equivalent 0.00000001 LTC.
Ordinal inscription technology allows individual litoshis to carry unique and arbitrary image data on-chain in seriatim.
Ordinals on Litecoin were made possible after Litecoin's 2022 taproot upgrade.
The code supporting Ordinals was created by Casey Rodarmor and ported to Litecoin by @anthonyonchain in February of 2023. The port resulted from a call to action made by Twitter user @indigo_nakamoto and a bounty reward of 22 LTC.
Litecoin's first Ordinal was inscribed on February 19, 2023 at 20:26:43 UTC by @anthonyonchain. The inscription image is described as "the mimblewimble whitepaper."
To learn more about Oridinals and Ordinal Theory, please visit litecoin.earlyordies.com. To begin inscribing on Litecoin, download Ord-Litecoin via Gitbub here. Inscriptions may also be created through third-party websites such as Litescribe and OrdinalsLite. Existing Litecoin inscriptions may be searched via Liteordex.
Litecoin, being a global cryptocurrency, is theoretically subject to every jurisdiction in the world. This said, there is no way this website can succinctly answer this question with authority. While the nation of El Salvador has declared Bitcoin to be legal tender -- and the El Salvadorian Bitcoin ATMs feature Litecoin -- most nations have not yet taken this approach. In the United States, for example, Litecoin is perfectly legal to hold and use but may be subject to taxation unlike international currencies and foreign exchange. Our recommendation is to always consult with a CPA regarding taxable events as they may relate to Litecoin or Bitcoin in your jurisdiction.
Social media is a great way to connect with others in the Litecoin community —
or, as we often like to say, the Litecoin Fam.
On Reddit, find /r/Litecoin
Also, check out LitecoinTalk.io
Being a decentralized cryptocurrency, there is no single authority per se on Litecoin. Unlike legacy finance, Litecoin doesn't have a headquarters, central office, or anything of that nature. At its core, Litecoin is a global community of miners (folks that dedicate computers and hardware to running the Litecoin network), nodes (computers and devices hosting the historical ledger containing all Litecoin transactions), and holders (folks that have Litecoin in personal wallets to use as they see fit). This said, eightyfourmillion.com is a privately-owned educational website that exists to champion Litecoin as sound money and encourage its adoption.
According to its website, The Litecoin Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Singapore with members around the globe who share the mission of advancing Litecoin for the good of society by developing and promoting state-of-the-art blockchain technologies. This site, eightyfourmillion.com, is not a Litecoin Foundation website; however, we highly recommend you visit their website, subscribe to their email list, and follow their official Twitter. While Litecoin is a decentralized cryptocurrency with no central office or point of contact; the Litecoin Foundation, spearheaded by Litecoin creator Charlie Lee, is the closest thing to an official organ for Litecoin advocacy.
Litecoin core development is primarily funded by The Litecoin Foundation, a non-profit Singapore organization, and its donors. A specific fund for MWEB development, Charlie Lee continues to match all donations sent in Bitcoin (BTC) to 3Bn4x7uceS76X56DX3cT3ecVphVdMAFi6Y and Litecoin (LTC) to MLos7u44mMq1ufgPJZTatEfPm3Kgxj5Nt9. The Litecoin core development team consists of David Burkett and others. This team ensures Litecoin’s base layer remains secure and supervises all updates to the Litecoin Core wallet.
In November 2023, the Foundation launched Lite.Space: a crowdfunding resource supporting development around Litecoin. Lite Space grew out of the efforts of Indigo Nakamoto, who had previously organized several successful community-funded bounties toward specific developments in the Litecoin ecosystem. These bounties realized the porting of Ordinals to Litecoin as well as the creation of a mempool explorer for Litecoin. If you are interested in developing around Litecoin — a new or existing platform, wallet, or something else — consider visiting Lite Space and setting up a campaign or applying for a grant.
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