If you’re new towards cryptocurrency, you may just have found out about Bitcoin. However, you may be surprised to learn that a lot more cryptocurrencies have now flooded the market. Referred to as alternative cryptocurrencies, or just altcoins, they may be less developed in comparison to Bitcoin. With each altcoin boasting to improve the financial industry in the approaching years, it is hard to judge which of these is worth an investment. Among the more robust altcoins on the market is Litecoin.
Bitcoin surfaced as the world’s first cryptocurrency following its introduction by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. The code is open source, allowing one to freely modify and change for use on other projects. Because of the level of popularity and success of Bitcoin, a great many other cryptocurrencies were launched with an improved version of the code.
Litecoin was a fork off the Bitcoin source code by ex-Google employee, Charlie Lee. He tweaked Bitcoin’s code by changing the hashing algorithm from SHA-256 to Scrypt. Charlie also capped the maximum amount of Litecoin’s to 84 million, four times more than Bitcoin’s 21 million. Other changes included giving Litecoin a mining reward of 50 coins per block, a block time of 2.5 minutes and halved the reward every 840,000 blocks.
Using Scrypt rather than SHA-256 allowed for fairer mining as the Scrypt algorithm is more storage intensive and allowed for easier entry for the hobbyist miner. Litecoin was primarily intended to be ASIC-resistant. ASIC – Application-Specific Integrated Circuit, is a custom designed circuit that has one purpose – cryptocurrency mining. This involves high investment in purchasing and upgrading of the ASIC miners as time passes. These Scrypt ASICs soon became profitable and began hitting the marketplace in May 2014.
Litecoin transactions are confirmed far quicker than Bitcoin as the transaction time is much faster. Litecoin launched in 2011 and differentiates itself by professing to be the “silver” to bitcoin’s “gold”. Litecoin holds it’s own in Cryptocurrency Market Capitalization by consistently appearing in the top ten.