Science

Litecoin can be your first cryptocurrency investment

05 Jun 2017 | By Anish Chakraborty
Litecoin - Everything you need to know

While cashless transactions via mediums like Paytm and MobiKwik are quite popular now, the acceptance of digital currencies or cryptocurrencies is also on a rise; some parts of the world will now even accept them instead of cash.

While Bitcoin remains the leading cryptocurrency, an alternative like Litecoin is a good first step for beginners.

Here's all you need to know about Litecoin.

In context: Litecoin - Everything you need to know

05 Jun 2017Litecoin can be your first cryptocurrency investment

Open SourceWhat is Litecoin?

Created by a Google employee, Charles Lee, in 2011, Litecoin is the sixth largest cryptocurrency with regards to market capitalization. It is a peer-to-peer decentralized Internet currency, which has almost zero payment cost and facilitates instant payment.

It operates on an open source software; released under MIT/X11 license it enables individuals to "run, modify and copy" the software to suit their own needs.

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How is it different from Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

BitcoinHow is it different from Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

It is considered to be less difficult than other cryptocurrencies since it uses "scrypt" algorithm instead of SHA 256 that Bitcoin uses.

As far as the transaction fees are concerned, Bitcoin charges lower at 0.0001 BTC compared to Litecoin's 0.02 LTC.

Litecoin takes only 2.5 minutes, as compared to Bitcoin's 10 minutes, when it comes to blocktime, which ensures receipt of payment.

ExchangeHow to use it?

A user needs to download a desktop application from Litecoin's website, which is a modified version of Bitcoin-QT client. This application will work as a wallet for storing your Litecoins.

One can either mine Litecoins or buy them in exchange for normal currency or other cryptocurrencies from places like Litecoin's forum, BitBargainUK, bittylicious, BTC-E, BTER, Kraken, CoinMKT etc.

UsageHow is it beneficial compared to other cryptocurrencies?

Litecoin is perfect for small transactions because of the variable transaction fee that it incurs.

While discussing the future of Litecoin and how it might benefit small businesses, Charles Lee, the creator said, "One possibility is that Bitcoin will be used for more expensive purchases, whereas Litecoin will take up the micro-transaction space."

BlockchainEasy to mine and use

In Litecoin, Blockchain generates more frequently, which enables higher transaction volume than its alternatives like Bitcoin.

Litecoin Wallet security is also top-notch, users have to enter a password everytime they want to spend the coins; it safeguards against malware attacks but is also flexible enough to give you a normal access, if you just want to keep a track of your transactions and balance.

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MiningHow to mine it?

The mining process includes solving of blocks, which form a cryptographic coin network.

These blocks contain hashes which are a chunk of encrypted information that, when solved by the user, provides a number of coins depending and varying upon the cryptocurrencies like Bitcoins, Litecoins etc.

The Blockchain feature of cryptocurrency records the ownership of the coins.

RAMWeighing in the pros and cons

Unlike Bitcoin, which makes use of an SHA 256 hashing algorithm, Litecoin makes use of a "scrypt" algorithm, which tends to use a large amount of RAM memory to perform mining.

However, Litecoin does provide a four time larger cap at 84 million coins, while Bitcoin provides the same at 21 million coins.

OptionWhat are some alternatives?

One of the alternatives to Litecoin is Feathercoin, created in 2013. It provides the same security features as Litecoin, but is even easier to use and rewards users with coins 16 times more than what Bitcoin provides, after solving a block.

Another alternative like Bitcoin, Terracoin uses the same SHA 256 algorithm for mining, which makes it difficult to mine with lower-end machines.