What is Litecoin?

Litecoin (often abbreviated as LTC) is an alternative cryptographic digital currency based on Bitcoin. It was forked from the Bitcoin project in August 2009, and has remained a popular altcoin to this day. Since Litecoin was derived from Bitcoin, most of the key concepts behind Bitcoin - including wallets, mining, trading - also apply to Litecoin. However, there are a few key differences in the inner workings of the Litecoin blockchain.

Differences Between Litecoin and Bitcoin

Most of the pros and cons of these differences can be found on the Litecoin project's GitHub page. This section will serve only as a high-level overview of the differences, rather than an in-depth analysis.

Proof-of-work

Bitcoin uses the SHA256 hash function for proof-of-work, whereas Litecoin uses scrypt instead. This essentially means Litecoin is 10 times more difficult to mine than Bitcoin; a miner achieving 100Mhash/s while mining bitcoin can expect approximately 100Khash/s while mining Litecoin.

Confirmation Times

The Litecoin blockchain adjusts difficulty to generate a block every 2.5 minutes on average. This is four times faster than the Bitcoin blockchain, which generates a block every 10 minutes on average.

Difficulty Retarget

Quoting the Litecoin project wiki,“The retarget block is 2016 in both Bitcoin and Litecoin, but because Litecoin blocks are found 4 times faster, the difficulty will retarget about every 3.5 days.” By comparison, the Bitcoin blockchain retargets approximately every 14 days.

Total Number of Coins

The total number of Litecoins that can ever be in existence is 84 million. This is 4 times the total number of Bitcoins that will come into existence.

Addresses

Litecoin addresses all begin with “L” while Bitcoin addresses begin with “1”.

Where to Spend Litecoins

Although some individuals maintain that Litecoin is merely “play money” without any true substance, there are several services which accept Litecoin as a valid form of payment. A few examples are as follows:

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