Litecoin: More Than Just The Silver To Bitcoin's Gold

Jan. 05, 2018 4:12 PM ETCOIN-OLD, GBTC, BTC-USD68 Comments
The Crypto Doc profile picture
The Crypto Doc


  • Litecoin provides an attractive mix of security, utility and upside.
  • Is a clone that improves upon what Bitcoin delivers.
  • Much cheaper than Bitcoin, fraction of its market cap, attractive for investors.

What is Litecoin?

Litecoin is one of the most prominent alt coins available in today's market place but was not the first. When it was founded by Charlie Lee on October 7, 2011, several other alt coins (many of which no longer exist) were around and competing with Bitcoin. So what has allowed Litecoin to stick around and become as huge as it has?

Lee took stock of the cryptocurrency environment and made design and programming decisions based on what he saw as features that were improperly implemented in other coins and that could be used to upgrade Bitcoin's model. With that in mind, Lee developed Litecoin to "be the silver to Bitcoin's gold." Unlike the other altcoins at the time, Lee saw Litecoin coexisting with Bitcoin as a complement rather than as a competitor. Much in the same way that both gold and silver can concurrently retain value as precious metals with slightly different though overlapping utilities, Bitcoin and Litecoin could coexist.

Lee thought that while Bitcoin provided one service ((gold)) that was perfect for high end, large transactions, Litecoin could provide a similar service (silver) that was better tailored for smaller, less expensive transactions. While doing so, Lee also wanted to make sure that Litecoin would not directly compete with Bitcoin. He focused on 2 major design choices to facilitate this:

  1. Litecoin would have quicker transactions than Bitcoin. Litecoin's block time (the amount of time needed to validate a transaction) was reduced by 75% to 2.5 minutes from Bitcoin's 10 minutes.
  2. Rather than relying on SHA256 cryptographic hash functions like Bitcoin, Litecoin uses scrypt functions. In theory, this allowed people without dedicated mining hardware to mine Litecoin (though this has since changed with the advent of Litecoin specific miners).

Block times represent the amount of time needed

This article was written by

The Crypto Doc profile picture
MD/MBA. Investor and trader. Believer in Bitcoin and Ethereum. Pax Americanus Sum. Logic and rationality and moderation.  The market does not care about your feelings.

Disclosure: I am/we are long LITECOIN. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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