When Bitcoin (BTC) emerged and gained popularity in 2010, another fruitful cryptocurrency called Litecoin (LTC) was created on it’s heals. Litecoin was one of the first forks off the Bitcoin blockchain. Litecoin began circulating in 2011. With a nod to precious metals, LTC was framed to be the “Silver” to Bitcoin’s “Gold.”
Litecoin’s value stems from the same place as Bitcoin, and the two cryptocurrencies share many common traits.
- Both virtual currencies have worth because of their usefulness and scarcity
- Both virtual currencies trade openly through global exchanges
- Transactions and wallets of both coins are public and accessible
- Litecoin and Bitcoin both offer blockchain benefits
- Both codes are open source; each can be modified and freely used for other projects
- Both Bitcoin and Litecoin are deflationary with a limited number of coins
- Most hardware wallets support both Bitcoin and Litecoin (Trezor & Ledger)
As similar as these crypto-cousins appear, there are some important differences between Bitcoin and Litecoin.
Litecoin enjoyed wide popularity during 2013 and 2014. However, even as a close cousin, Litecoin’s usage pales in comparison to Bitcoin’s consumer market.
Litecoin has a different proof of work algorithm making it more adaptive to technical up-scaling. Bitcoin calculations can be accelerated in parallel processing because Bitcoin uses a SHA-256 hashing algorithm. However, this feature has caused an increase in Bitcoin’s difficulty level.
Bitcoin’s total outstanding coins will ultimately equal 21 million, and Litecoin will have 84 million; exactly four times the total number of coins.
On the world stage, Bitcoin has many more developers. As compared to Litecoin, BTC also has many more users. Bitcoin has significant companies, such as BitPay and Coinbase, that offer a type of cryptocurrency merchant services by conveniently liquidating the digital tokens on a daily basis and depositing funds into the merchant’s bank. Litecoin does not have such facilities. The number of commercial Litecoin wallets available for consumers on a regular basis is limited.
Litecoin has about four times the transaction capacity of Bitcoin making Litecoin payment confirmations faster. This feature affords Litecoin, less security than its cousin.
Litecoin is capable of around eight times as many transactions as Bitcoin in a ten minute period because Litecoin blocks are generated on average every two and a half minutes. Due to this faster block generation, Litecoin can handle a higher volume of transactions in an equal period. Bitcoin’s network hash rate is more significant than Litecoin and Bitcoin blocks average about ten minutes apart. Litecoin merchants may wait around five minutes for a minimum of two confirmations, while Bitcoin takes much longer.
The cryptocurrency market has gotten crowded. Since Litecoin began, there have been hundreds of new innovative cryptocurrencies. Many of these later tokens and coins circulate with varying levels of success using a modified version of Bitcoin’s code. With the introduction of Ethereum, there are many more virtual currencies competing with Litecoin for consumer cash.
Bitcoin is the most convenient crypto to purchase because every online exchange supports it. Bitcoin has become the industry standard, and all other cryptocurrencies are measured against it. Visiting any online trading exchange will produce an array of various currencies denominated in Bitcoin units. Many support Litecoin but certainly not all of them.
Around the world, users of Bitcoin flock to Localbitcoins.com and other online boards that pair buyers and sellers in local mostly cash private transactions. The Bitcoin market is so large, that If you live in any populated city around the globe, a person-to-person deal is available through Localbitcoins.com. Litecoin has no match for this buying and selling.
The main problem for LTC, however, is that it is tough to buy Litecoin with cash. LocalBitcoins, BitQuick, and Wall of Coins are the most significant cash-to-Bitcoin exchanges and none support Litecoin.
While Bitcoin paved the way for a new financial industry, Litecoin has mainly adopted usage models from Bitcoin’s market. Litecoin also borrowed much of it code from Bitcoin.
Finally, the Bitcoin trading market is much more liquid and more rooted than Litecoin. Larger trades don’t move the market as far as they would affect the BTC market.