Litecoin was one of the first major altcoins to challenge the dominance of bitcoin. Unlike Dogecoin, Litecoin was built as a serious competitor to bitcoin when it launched in 2011.
Litecoin was actually built on the original bitcoin code. The developers expanded, improved, and modified that code to create a new cryptocurrency. Some of the key improvements with Litecoin included a faster block time: Litecoin reduced transaction time (block time) from 10 minutes to 2.5 minutes. They also quadrupled the total supply of coins.
Today, hobby miners and large bitcoin mining corporations continue to mine Litecoin using popular ASIC rigs like the Antminer L3+. Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know about Litecoin mining.
How Does Litecoin Mining Work?
Litecoin is a decentralized, peer-to-peer, blockchain-based, cryptographically-secured currency. Litecoin was designed with the goal of facilitating payments between individuals. Overall, Litecoin is very similar to bitcoin. The name is a reference to the fact that Litecoin is a “lighter weight” and “faster” version of bitcoin.
Just like bitcoin, there’s no central organization that verifies Litecoin transactions. Instead, the Litecoin network is secured by a group of nodes called miners.
Another important difference between Litecoin and bitcoin is the total supply. Just like there’s a fixed supply of 21 million bitcoins, there’s a fixed supply of 84 million Litecoins.
One final major difference is the algorithm. Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 algorithm, while Litecoin uses Scrypt for proof of work (PoW) hashing. Both blockchains are based on PoW algorithms, but the algorithms work in different ways.
Ultimately, Litecoin has been around since 2011, making it one of the oldest altcoins available today. It was originally called blockchain 2.0 due to its improvements over bitcoin’s code. However, many people have begun using blockchain 2.0 to refer to Ethereum – although Litecoin mining continues to be popular.
What Do You Need to Start Mining Litecoins?
If you want to start mining Litecoins, then you’ll need the same basic ingredients as any other bitcoin mining operation, including:
- Litecoin mining hardware
- Litecoin mining software
- A Litecoin mining pool
- A Litecoin wallet
Litecoin Mining Hardware
Litecoin mining hardware has evolved like bitcoin mining hardware. Originally, you could mine Litecoin with either a GPU or CPU. Over time, the power of GPUs made them the preferred choice for Litecoin mining. Today, virtually all Litecoin mining is performed by dedicated ASIC devices.
Bitcoin and Litecoin are built on the same basic code. However, they use different PoW algorithms. You shouldn’t use bitcoin ASICs to mine Litecoin. If you have a bitcoin ASIC, it will likely be more profitable to mine bitcoin, although your mileage may vary.
There’s only one major ASIC available for Litecoin mining, and that’s the Antminer L3+. The L3+ hit the market in 2017. It provides 504 MH/s of hashing power. At launch, the Antminer L3+ was generating returns as high as 0.5 LTC per day for some miners.
Alternatively, if you can’t find an L3+, or if you want a dual-purpose miner, then you may want to buy the Antminer S9, which can be used to mine bitcoins or Litecoins. In general, however, Litecoin mining is performed exclusively with the Antminer L3+.
The L3+ can be used to mine other Scrypt coins as well – so if you’re not making as much profit mining Litecoins, then you can switch to other Scrypt-based cryptocurrencies. Other popular cryptocurrencies based on Scrypt include Verge (XVG), Gulden (NLG), and Dogecoin (DOGE).
Litecoin Mining Software
Litecoin mining software isn’t as widespread as other cryptocurrency mining software. However, you can find several popular programs dedicated specifically to mining Litecoin.
The most popular Litecoin mining software is CGMiner, although GUIMiner is another popular option. Other major names in the Litecoin mining software community include SGMiner, CPUMiner, CudaMiner, BFGMiner, and MultiMiner.
Most Litecoin mining software is available for Windows and Linux. All of the above software is available as a free download online. Certain software is designed specifically for CPU and GPU mining, while other software can do both.
Litecoin Mining Pools
The best way to make a positive ROI with Litecoin mining is to join a Litecoin mining pool. Litecoin mining pools vary in terms of credibility, reward payments, pool fees, and geographic location.
The most popular Litecoin mining pools include LitecoinPool.org, PoolMining.org, GiveMeCoins, OzCoin, LitecoinRain, CoinRelay, and WeMineLTC, among others. Make sure you compare Litecoin mining pools carefully before you sign up. Some pools charge fees of 0%, while others charge fees of 2%.
Litecoin Mining Wallet
You’ll need a Litecoin mining wallet to store your Litecoin mining proceeds. There are a number of popular Litecoin wallets available for users, including desktop software, mobile apps, and cold storage solutions.
You can store your Litecoin in a hardware wallet like the Trezor or Ledger Nano S.
Alternatively, software wallets like Jaxx, Exodus, and LitecoinWallet have always been popular.
Once you have your Litecoin wallet, just input that wallet address into your LTC mining pool or LTC mining software. Then, you’ll receive your block rewards directly into your Litecoin wallet.
That’s it! Once you have Litecoin mining hardware, software, a pool, and a wallet address, you can begin mining Litecoin. Litecoin mining remains profitable and popular for those with the Antminer L3+ and other miners.