Litecoin (LTC or Ł) is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and open source software project released under the MIT/X11 license. Creation and transfer of coins is based on an open source cryptographic protocol and is not managed by any central authority. While inspired by, and in most regards technically nearly identical to Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin has some technical improvements over Bitcoin, and most other major cryptocurrencies, such as the adoption of Segregated Witness, and the Lightning Network. These effectively allow a greater amount of transactions to be processed by the network in a given time, reducing potential bottlenecks, as seen with Bitcoin. Litecoin also has almost zero payment cost and facilitates payments approximately four times faster than Bitcoin.
Differences from Bitcoin
Litecoin offers three key differences from Bitcoin.
- The Litecoin Network aims to process a block every 2.5 minutes, rather than Bitcoin's 10 minutes, which its developers claim allows for faster transaction confirmation. A drawback is a higher probability of orphaned blocks. Advantages can include greater resistance to a double spending attack over the same period as Bitcoin. However, total work done is a consideration. For example, if the Litecoin Network has comparatively ten times less computing work done per block than the Bitcoin network, the Bitcoin confirmation is around ten times harder to reverse, even though the Litecoin Network is likely to add confirmation blocks at a rate four times faster.
- Litecoin uses scrypt in its proof-of-work algorithm, a sequential memory-hard function requiring asymptotically more memory than an algorithm which is not memory-hard.
- The Litecoin Network will produce 84 million Litecoins, or four times as many currency units as will be issued by the Bitcoin Network.