About Charlie Lee's Litecoin (LTC)
Created via a fork of the Bitcoin client in 2011 by Charlie Lee as a ‘lite' version of Bitcoin, Litecoin is often seen as complementary to Bitcoin's SoV (store of value) proposition, facilitating faster, cheaper transactions of lesser value.
Litecoin is best understood by juxtaposing with Bitcoin and highlighting the differences. The 3 fundamental differences between Bitcoin and Litecoin are coin supply, block generation time and hashing algorithm.
Litecoin (LTC) Coin Supply
There are currently close to 17 million bitcoins in circulating supply, with a maximum supply of 21 million bitcoins. All 21 million bitcoins will be mined by the year 2140.
Litecoin LTC has a maximum supply of 84 million, with roughly 56 million LTC in circulation at present.
Whereas Bitcoin network takes 10 minutes to confirm a block, Litecoin blocks are generated once every 2.5 minutes which theoretically makes the network four times faster than Bitcoin.
Litecoin block reward (reward for mining a block) halves once every four years similar to Bitcoin, however due to faster block generation, it takes four times as many blocks (840,000 blocks) before a each halving.
The current block reward is 25 LTC per block, with the next halving due in August 2019.
While both Bitcoin and Litecoin utilize a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus protocol, Litecoin employs a hashing algorithm called Scrypt, which is fundamentally different from Bitcoin's SHA-256.
Scrypt algorithm was created in 2009 by Colin Percival. It is a sequential memory-hard algorithm, as such more resistant to parallel processing which allows monopolizing of mining operations using specialized ASICs.
By being memory-intensive, Scrypt was originally designed to deter large-scale attacks using custom-made hardware. Lately though, some hardware manufacturers have produced Scrypt ASICs.
In May 2017, Litecoin adopted SegWit, a soft fork which addressed transaction malleability while also freeing up block space by separating signature data or witness data from transaction data.
Later that month, Litecoin implemented Lightning Network, an off-chain payment protocol using a secondary layer to facilitate micro-payments.
In September 2017, Litecoin tested on-chain atomic swaps with Decred, Vertcoin and Bitcoin. Atomic swaps allow instant cross-chain transactions, enabling trade between currencies without requiring an exchange. Atomic swaps via Lightning Network are in the final stages of development and expected to be released in 2018.
New and exciting developments in Lightning Networks by @AaronvanW. The most brilliants minds in cryptocurrency are working on making LN better every day. 2nd layers like LN are what will help make Bitcoin and Litecoin scale without compromising the base layer. 👍 https://t.co/s6PElKwy2J
— Charlie Lee [LTC] (@SatoshiLite) May 4, 2018