What is Litecoin?

Often referred to as the younger brother of bitcoin, Litecoin is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that has gained considerable adoption since the beginning of 2011. A form of digital money that uses the blockchain to easily maintain ledgers from all transactions, litecoin is used to transfer funds directly between individuals or businesses without the need for intermediaries such as banks or payment processing services.

What Makes Litecoin Different?
Three things that make Litecoin different:

Amount of Coins
Market Capitalization

Litecoin is based on the same open source code behind bitcoin, with some important differences. Made by Charlie Lee to be silver for bitcoin gold, one of the main differences between the two cryptocurrency lies in the speed of their transactions.

Because generating blocks is about four times faster than bitcoin, litecoin can confirm the validity of transactions much faster and process much higher amounts of them within the same time period.

For more information about how blocks are made and transactions confirmed, be sure to read our primer on blockchain technology - which serves as the basis of litecoin and most other p2p virtual currencies.

Amount of Coins
One reason some cryptocurrency holds intrinsic value is because of their limited supply. After a number of bitcoin (btc) or litecoin (ltc) is created, that's all. There were no new coins at that time.

While bitcoin has a limit of 21 million coins, litecoin will be a maximum of 84 million.

Market Capitalization
Although its market capitalization is meaningless compared to bitcoin, litecoin is still ranked in the top 5 cryptocurrency at the time of publication.

This rating fluctuates based on the price and number of coins in circulation.

Mining Litecoin
Another significant difference between bitcoin and litecoin is the hashing algorithm that is used for breaking blocks, and how many coins are distributed each time a solution is found. When transactions are carried out, they are then grouped with others that have recently been sent in one of these cryptographically protected blocks.

Computers known as miners use GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and / or CPU cycles to solve rather complex mathematical problems, passing data in one block through the algorithms mentioned above to find their collective power solutions. It is at this point that all transactions in each block are fully verified and labeled as legitimate.

Miners also reap their work every time the block is completed, because the number of predetermined coins is distributed among those who help - with stronger hasher getting the biggest share. People who want to mine cryptocurrency usually join groups, where their computing power is combined with other people in the group to get this prize.

As mentioned above, litecoin and bitcoin use contrast algorithms when hashing. While bitcoin employs SHA-256 (short for Secure Hash Algorithm 2) which is considered to be relatively more complex, Litecoin uses a memory-intensive algorithm called scrypt.

Different proof-of-work algorithms mean different hardware, and you need to ensure that your mining rig meets the exact specifications for producing litecoin.

If you are interested in moving forward with Litecoin mining, here are a few copy-paste examples of CGminer.conf and Bat Files to try.

How to buy Litecoin
If you want to have several litecoin but are not interested in mining, cryptocurrency can be purchased with other cryptocurrency such as bitcoin on a website known as the exchange. Some of these exchanges, as well as other services such as Coinbase, also allow you to buy ltc with actual fiat currencies including the US dollar.

Editor's Note: When investing and trading cryptocurrency, make sure to see the alarm.

Litecoin wallet
Like bitcoin and many other cryptocurrency, litecoin is usually stored in a digital wallet. There are various types of wallets including those that are software based and are on your computer or mobile device, as well as physical hardware wallets. Another safe but outdated and somewhat complicated method for storing your litecoin is making a paper wallet, which involves creating and printing a private key on a computer that is not connected to the web as one step.

Each wallet has a private key needed to receive and send coins to and from your litecoin address. Because these keys are stored offline in a hardware wallet, they are inherently safer than a wallet that is connected to the internet.

The wallet centered on this application exists in the form of a desktop or cellular software and is available for almost all popular operating systems and devices. In addition to third party applications such as Electrum, laptop and desktop users also have the option to install Litecoin Core, which is a full client created and updated by the Litecoin Development team. Litecoin Core downloads the entire blockchain directly from peer-to-peer networks, avoiding the involvement of intermediaries in the process.

Litecoin Block Explorer
As with other public cryptocurrency, all litecoin transactions on the blockchain are public and can be searched. The easiest way to peruse these notes or search for individual blocks, transactions or even address balances is through the litecoin block explorer. There is a lot to choose from, and a simple Google search will allow you to find one that suits your individual needs.
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