Litecoin Explained - Introduction Guide for Beginners

In this guide, you will learn the basic facts about Litecoin and gain an idea of why it is among the top-ranked digital currencies.

Litecoin is a cryptocurrency often named "digital silver", envisioned as a counterpart to Bitcoin, which is often called "digital gold". It is ranked among the top altcoins and is increasingly popular with  European users. Litecoin is attractive for users and investors for its robust trading volume, ease of use

In this guide, you will learn the basic facts about Litecoin and gain an idea of why it is among the top-ranked digital currencies.

What is Litecoin

Litecoin is a fully decentralized, open-source digital currency.

It is extremely attractive for users for allowing instant, near-zero cost payments all over the world. The Litecoin blockchain is an open source, fully decentralized project, developed by volunteers with plans to add full-time programmers to expand and improve the experiences of users and investors.

Litecoin enjoys a robust industry support, trading volume, and liquidity and is considered a proven payment medium and a counterpart Bitcoin.

Litecoin is among the top offering in most online exchanges. Exchanging Litecoin for Bitcoin is very easy and the market has a great liquidity, and it is also relatively easy to buy and sell Litecoin for cash. The popularity of the coin is so far-reaching that there are Litecoin debit cards available along with Bitcoin debit cards. Litecoin is a suitable way to diversify cryptocurrency positions and mitigate the risk of fluctuations in other top cryptocurrencies- Dash and Ethereum.

Currency Price (as of July 2017) Units Available 24 Hour Trading Volume (as of July 2017)
Bitcoin $2034.34 16,452,650 $1.2 billion
Litecoin $41.81 52,030,007 $318 million
Ethereum $173.81 93,345,936 $1.6 billion
Dash $143.38 7,431,388 $38 million


Litecoin is a non-inflationary coin. The creation algorithm would never allow more than 84 million Litecoin, ensuring scarcity and the ability to store value, just like precious metals. This is Litecoin's promise to serve as "digital silver".

Litecoin's creation was followed by an explosion in new altcoins with various technological features, some offering a fair launch, while others arriving on the market with some pre-mining from the development team.

Who Created Litecoin

The creation of Litecoin happened as a GitHub release on October 7, 2011. The name behind Litecoin

 is Charlie Lee, a former Google employee. Lee moved on to work with Coinbase between 2013 and 2017, but as of July 2017 moved onward to continue building on Litecoin just as its popularity is rising.

The coin's creator is not anonymous and in the near future will be personally involved with technical guidance on the coins. Lee is on Twitter as @SatoshiLite.

On Twitter and other platforms, Lee acts as an opinion leader and educator, working to widen the infrastructure for using Litecoin. Lee also created the concept of "digital silver", as a counterpart to Bitcoin, which is sometimes called "digital gold". Litecoin stands for silver because of the lower price, wider availability and better accessibility.

Litecoin had a fair launch with no pre-mining, and from the beginning avoided the faults of earlier altcoins that came out around 2011.

Litecoin Investment

Litecoin turned into an attractive investment position as its price rose from the lows and reached prices above $50 before correcting in July 2017. The price peak was partially speculative, as the coin corrected sharply with days in the red.

Litecoin may be appealing as an asset due to the cap of production and the non-inflationary nature of Litecoin. However, in the past years, Litecoin has moved up and down, spending a couple of years with deeply depressed prices. The future remains challenging as the developer team competes with other blockchains for attracting users.

Litecoin, like other digital currencies, is susceptible to short-term panic or speculative sell-offs. Part of the cryptocoin ecosystem includes speculative traders. The volatility of Litecoin is higher than for traditional asset classes. Compared to other altcoins, Litecoin volatility may be lower.

The current market capitalization of Litecoin is more than $2.3 billion. Litecoin value stands solidly within the top 5 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.

Buy Litecoin

To buy Litecoin, the best option for new investors is to use an international exchange. Most sites allow a purchase for cash, or the option to exchange Bitcoin for Litecoin with great ease and liquidity. Market exchanges offer reasonable price quotes and add a layer of security by verification.

Choose the exchange based on price and accepted payment methods:

BitPanda- targeted to European buyers.

Coinbase - claiming to be the world's most popular exchange for Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum

BTC-E - an exchange and trading platform, allowing a purchase of Litecoin for EUR. For dollar-based purchases, users must buy Bitcoin and exchange it for Litecoin.

OKCoin - exchange and margin trading. Exchange USD for Litecoin

Litecoin Blockchain

The Litecoin blockchain uses a different hashing algorithm from Bitcoin. Litecoin runs on Scrypt, a more complex calculation mode than the SHA-256 used for Bitcoin.

The Litecoin blockchain handles a higher transaction volume than Bitcoin. Blocks process every 2.5 minutes instead of every 10 minutes. The maximum number of coins is, consequently, four times higher than the maximum number of Bitcoin.

Because the network generates new blocks more frequently, for a long time, it supported transactions without the need for software modification. Users and merchants get faster confirmation times. Big ticket sales still take longer, according to the website. In the next few months and years, the technology is expected to improve speed and security.

One Litecoin can be subdivided into millicoins (1/100 Litecoin), microcoins (1/100000 Litecoin) or Litoshis, the smallest unit, a ten-millionth part of a Litecoin.

The Future of Litecoin

Litecoin rose sharply in 2017 on the back of Bitcoin and a general enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies. In the past, the price of Litecoin has hovered relatively depressed.

The future of Litecoin is considered stable due to the dedicated technological community and regular updates that increase speed and decrease cost.

The Google+ following of the Litecoin project has more than 5,000 followers dedicated to maintaining the stability of the Litecoin network and expanding the Litecoin ecosystem. The current version of Litecoin is 0.13.2, released at the beginning of the year, just as cryptocurrencies started to move into the mainstream attention.

A newly released Litecoin Roadmap for 2017 promises an update to version 0.13.3. The paper cited 14 developers set on various tasks to improve the service powers of the Litecoin blockchain. An improved Android wallet awaits release by the end of the year. There has been fundraising and plans to hire full-time developers for the Litecoin Core project.

In 2017, Litecoin would change its p2sh address, to begin with M instead of 3 and encourage adoption within the ecosystem by assisting with support and education.

Users and investors may also expect the Litecoin.Network project, tracking and gathering information about the blockchain in one place. The site would keep a record of development, network economics, mining information and historical data.

The most notable innovation for Litecoin would be the possibility for smart contracts or conditional payments between parties. Smart contracts would make Litecoin similar in technology to Ethereum.

The other priority concern of the team and community around Litecoin is the Lightning Network, a system of fast transactions.

Litecoin SegWit

The SegWit, standing for Segregated Witness, is a technological solution to speed problems. For Litecoin, SegWit was adopted and has been operational since May 2017. SegWit is a soft fork technology that allows Litecoin transactions to move fast enough, even as the Litecoin blockchain grows bigger.

The Litecoin Segwit won over the community after some discussion. According to experts, this would open the door for technological innovation and the wider usage of the Lightning network.

Places that accept Litecoin

Litecoin users can spend their digital silver for IT-related services. Hosting, security, even mining rigs are available for the Litecoin community. Currently, there are still limited offers on consumer goods.

Most transactions for goods and services happen within the community. Adopting a cryptocurrency means being able to trade with anyone in the world who is also a user. The Litecoin community usually monitors vendors and shares reviews, but it is best to be aware of possible scams and insecurity.

Litecoin marketplaces also offer specialized software packages, apps, and bots. Gift cards and subscription packages to paid news services are also available (sites like or similar).