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Tag #Litecoin

Introduction to Litecoin and trading LTC

LTC is silver to bitcoin’s gold. In other words, if you think BTC is volatile…

 

Litecoin was created in 2011 as ‘digital silver to bitcoin’s gold’. It’s faster than bitcoin, with 2.5 minute blocks, and it’s easier to mine. In the early days, that made a bigger difference, though now you’ll still need Scrypt ASICs to do the job properly. If you’ve got into bitcoin and are wondering what else is around, you could do worse than look at LTC.

 

What’s Litecoin good for?

The fact that Litecoin has shorter block times, and the fact that there’s more space in blocks, means that it’s excellent for small, fast, low-cost transfers. If you need to move small amounts of cash between exchanges, or different wallets or other services (like cloud mining services, for example), it’s a great option.

 

More broadly, Litecoin tends to implement features faster than Bitcoin (which is not surprising, since Bitcoin is glacially slow). Litecoin’s team implemented SegWit before Bitcoin, giving it a reputation at Bitcoin’s sandbox.

 

Trading LTC

Like physical silver compared to gold, Litecoin is incredibly volatile. As we noted on Saturday, it tends to move in step with BTC, but rises in BTC terms as BTC rises against the dollar, and falls against BTC when BTC drops in USD price. This gives an exaggerated effect to price swings. Look at where BTC and LTC bottomed: $3,100 and $22 respectively. And while BTC has almost doubled in price since then, LTC has almost quadrupled.

 

This makes LTC very risky to trade. It’s available on most large fiat exchanges now, including Bitstamp and Coinbase, making it easy to access. And it’s supported with many different wallets, including mobile ones, so it’s easy to store. But trade carefully: LTC can be hugely rewarding if you buy at the right time, but it can lose a large proportion of its value in a heartbeat if you get it wrong.

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(Don’t) Show me the money! LTC looks to Beam for confidential txs

The two teams are working together to explore whether MimbleWimble is the right fit for Litecoin.

 

Here at Inferno we’ve made no secret about our interest in MimbleWimble, the exciting new blockchain protocol that manages to combine both privacy and scalability thanks to its approach of avoiding storing any sensitive information on the blockchain at all. Earlier this week, we looked at Beam, an Israeli project that implements MW in a standalone blockchain.

 

As it happens, Charlie Lee, known as ‘Satoshi Lite’ recently expressed his intention to improve the privacy and fungibility of Litecoin by adding confidential transactions:

Fungibility is the only property of sound money that is missing from Bitcoin & Litecoin. Now that the scaling debate is behind us, the next battleground will be on fungibility and privacy.
I am now focused on making Litecoin more fungible by adding Confidential Transactions.

 

He stated at the time that his dev team was exploring MimbleWimble, and now a new development has arisen. Team Litecoin and Team Beam are working together to figure out whether Litecoin should use MW to improve Litecoin’s privacy – essentially by removing the transaction path, amounts and addresses from the blockchain where confidentiality is desired.

 

Beam recently posted a Medium blog to this effect, writing, ‘We have started exploration towards adding privacy and fungibility to Litecoin by allowing on-chain conversion of regular LTC into a Mimblewimble variant of LTC and vice versa. Upon such conversion, it will be possible to transact with Mimblewimble LTC in complete confidentiality.’

 

This would be a fantastic development, because we believe that MimbleWimble is hands down the best privacy solution out there. But it’s not for the faint-hearted, and Charlie Lee knows there are challenges involved. On a technical level, it would involve moving coins from the Litecoin main chain into a MW sidechain, or another similar solution. And, when you’re dealing with a $2 billion network, there’s little room for error. Plus the quirks of MW mean that you can’t just send money to an address; both sender and recipient have to be online at some point to arrange the terms of the transaction, which may cause some inconvenience – especially where cold storage is concerned.

 

Nonetheless, it’s a great move and shows real vision on the part of Litecoin and a commitment not to stand still. The market responded positively to the news, with LTC rising 10%.

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