Litecoin (LTC or Ł) is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and open source software project released under the MIT/X11 license. Creation and transfer of coins is based on an open source cryptographic protocol and is not managed by any central authority. The coin was inspired by, and in technical details is nearly identical to, Bitcoin (BTC).
Official Litecoin logo
|Original author(s)||Charlie Lee|
|Initial release||0.1.0 / 7 October 2011|
|Latest release||0.14.2 / 21 November 2017|
|Operating System||Windows, OS X, Linux, Android|
|Developer(s)||Litecoin Core Development Team|
|Source model||Open source|
|Block reward||25 LTC (approximately to 2019), halved approximately every four years|
|Block time||2.5 minutes|
|Block explorer||explorer.litecoin.net chainz.cryptoid.info|
|Circulating supply||55,189,133 LTC (12 February 2018)|
|Supply limit||84,000,000 LTC|
|Market cap||$8.8 billion USD (12 February 2018)|
Litecoin was released via an open-source client on GitHub on October 7, 2011 by Charlie Lee, a former Google employee. The Litecoin network went live on October 13, 2011. It was a fork of the Bitcoin Core client, differing primarily by having a decreased block generation time (2.5 minutes), increased maximum number of coins, different hashing algorithm (scrypt, instead of SHA-256), and a slightly modified GUI.
During the month of November 2013, the aggregate value of Litecoin experienced massive growth which included a 100% leap within 24 hours.
Litecoin reached a $1 billion market capitalization in November 2013.
In May 2017, Litecoin became the first of the top 5 (by market cap) cryptocurrencies to adopt Segregated Witness. Later in May of the same year, the first Lightning Network transaction was completed through Litecoin, transferring 0.00000001 LTC from Zürich to San Francisco in under one second.
In February 2018, one of the major EU online retailer Alza began accepting Litecoin as a payment method.
Differences from BitcoinEdit
Litecoin is different in some ways from Bitcoin.
- The Litecoin Network aims to process a block every 2.5 minutes, rather than Bitcoin's 10 minutes. The developers claim that this allows Litecoin to have faster transaction confirmation.
- Litecoin uses scrypt in its proof-of-work algorithm, a sequential memory-hard function requiring asymptotically more memory than an algorithm which is not memory-hard.
Due to Litecoin's use of the scrypt algorithm, FPGA and ASIC devices made for mining Litecoin are more complicated to create and more expensive to produce than they are for Bitcoin, which uses SHA-256.
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These hash functions can be tuned to require rapid access a very large memory space, making them particularly hard to optimize to specialized massively parallel hardware.