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We plan to introduce Litecoin in three articles to help our readers understand Litecoin comprehensively. The first part of this series covers Litecoin from the perspective of its development history and current status quo, mainly focusing on its milestones, work algorithm, block reward halving, price trend, mining pool distribution, Github commits and Google search trend.
I. Introduction to Litecoin (LTC)
Litecoin (LTC or Ł), was created by Charlie Lee, a former Google employee, who devoted himself to creating a lighter version of Bitcoin (BTC). Technically, Litecoin nearly resembles Bitcoin.
Akin to Bitcoin, the creation and transfer of Litecoin is based on an open source cryptographic protocol and is not managed by any central authority. The Litecoin network is scheduled to produce 84 million Litecoins (LTC), which is four times as many currency units as Bitcoin, with the current circulating supply at 61,276,211 LTC.
1. Litecoin’s Chronicle of Milestones
- Litecoin was released via an open source client on Github on October 7th, 2011.
- On August 26, 2015, the Litecoin block reward halved for the first time, with the Litecoin output per block reducing from 50 to 25.
- On July 3, 2016, the Litecoin Association, that advocates for Litecoin, teamed up with Litecoin’s core development team and released a 2016 road map outlining its plans for the future. One of the prime prospects of their roadmap includes launching a new version of Litecoin featuring Segregated Witness (SegWit), Lightning Network and smart contract.
- On May 11, 2017, Segregated Witness (SegWit) was activated in the 1,201,536th block, allowing Litecoin hodlers to make Segregated Witness (SegWit) transactions.
- On June. 21, 2017, Charlie Lee announced that Lightning Network of Litecoin was officially launched. The Lightning Network is one of the most anticipated technologies for scaling payments in a long term and sustainable method.
Litecoin (LTC) leverages the underlying values of blockchain infrastructure and enjoys deep liquidity in the crypto market. Also, the number of Litecoin (LTC) ATMs has seen exponential growth lately and now stands second only to Bitcoin (BTC) globally. Litecoin has also seen a significant spurt in the number of miners, cryptocurrency transaction platforms, developers, merchants and users.
2. Litecoin vs Bitcoin – Understanding the Core Difference
Dubbed “the silver to Bitcoin’s gold”, Litecoin is the first peer-to-peer internet currency based on the Scrypt algorithm. Although the functions of Litecoin are almost identical to Bitcoin, there are salient differences between them.
- The Litecoin Network aims to process a block every 2.5 minutes whereas the processing time for Bitcoin is 10 minutes. Hence, the developers claim that this allows Litecoin to have faster transaction confirmations.
- Litecoin has a supply limit of 8,400, four times Bitcoin’s supply limit.
- Litecoin uses scrypt in its proof-of-work algorithm, a sequential memory-hard function requiring asymptotically more memory than Bitcoin’s not-memory-hard SHA256 algorithm. The memory-hard scrypt encryption algorithm could compete with the capacity of professional mining equipment. Scrypt algorithm reminds people to address the centralization issues in hash computing as it prevents what are known as ASICs from dominating Litecoin’s hash rate, thus pushing the industry towards a more decentralized direction.
3. Litecoin Block Reward Halving
Litecoin undergoes a reward halving roughly every four years, with the latest happening on August 26, 2015 when the Litecoin reward was reduced from 50 LTC to 25 LTC. Theoretically, the block generation halving may lead to imbalanced supply and demand and trigger a price rally.
Since Litecoin’s price is largely influenced by supply and demand, some had speculated that a cut in supply would lead to a subsequent increase in the price of Litecoin. In reality, however, a reverse trend happened as more factors and variables came into play. Historical data in 2015 have shown that Litecoin has seen its price dropping to some extent after the halving event.
Based on the analysis, the following factors might have contributed to its downward trend.
Price Trend of LTC Two Months after Block Reward Halving in 2015
- Firstly, based on Litecoin’s price trend chart in 2015, Litecoin (LTC) has rallied sharply months ahead of its reward halving, clocking a high of $8.967, far exceeding market expectations.
- Secondly, at that time the value of the entire crypto market was relatively small, and also the real use cases were still limited. Based on our research, the sharp price rally is a speculation rather than the real reflection of its value.
- Thirdly, the block production halving also forced miners to close their servers due to the shrinking rewards and high costs. However, the computing power also witnessed some decline following the halving event, which pushed Litecoin’s price into a bear trend for quite some time. Litecoin difficulty went through its first adjustment on August 27, the same year after the halving, to keep the block generation time at 150 seconds, down 7.61%.
The cryptocurrency market has witnessed numerous bulls and bears since 2015, as did Litecoin.
Litecoin has been progressing faster than many other major coins in terms of technology, ecosystem building, and other aspects.
II. Current Litecoin Fundamentals Status Quo
1. Current Litecoin Fundamentals
2. Transactions on Litecoin Chain
3. Comparison of Transaction Data of Major Blockchains
Trading volume on Litecoin chain still has a gap to be narrowed in order to catch up with that of BTC and ETH. However, Litecoin is still resilient, thanks to its large market cap, large user base and a coverage of 5.51% of the total market cap by 24-hour trading volume. Plus, Litecoin currently has 55,822 active addresses. Judging from its rising trend of transaction fees, Litecoin is showing stable and continuous growth in terms of transaction volume.
4. LTC Distribution
5. LTC holding % vs. total market cap by the top 10, top 100 and top 1,000 LTC addresses
Similar to other mainstream coins, LTC is also concentrated in a few top addresses. In fact, asset value of the top 500 addresses alone has covered over 60% of total LTC supply, including the addresses of some centralized exchanges, which is also the case for other top coins.
6. LTC Mining Pool
LTC mining pool distribution is relative even among big players, with the top mining pool. F2Pool, covering 20.45% of all mining output, followed closely by other major pools such as Poolin, LTC Top, and ViaBTC. The relatively even distribution of mining pools delivers better stability and safety to its miners. However, Litecoin still has a long way to go when it comes to improving its computing power compared with Bitcoin’s 47.31 EH/s and BCH’s 1.6EH/s.
7. Litecoin’s Github Commits Frequency
LTC code commits on Github have been continuously active. However, there has been a slight dip in the past three months.
8. Google Trend
Litecoin is ranking high on Google Trends as data shows interest in Litecoin is strong among the major coins, concentrated in North and South America, especially in the countries of Venezuela, America, and Canada.
As the world’s fourth largest cryptocurrency on CoinMarketCap, Litecoin’s parameters as we mentioned above generally show its outstanding and resilient performance. The Litecoin blockchain has been fully functional which is mostly credited to its solid underlying technology advantages. However, Litecoin is also grappling with certain sore points compared to other top coins, such as the concentration of assets in the top addresses.
In the next article, we shall dive deep into its block reward halving event and its broad impacts on the Litecoin ecosystem.
This post originally appeared on Medium. Read more.
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