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What is Litecoin?

Litecoin (LTC) is a cryptocurrency created from a fork in the Bitcoin blockchain in 2011. It was initially designed to address the developer's concerns that Bitcoin was becoming too centrally controlled, and to make it more difficult for largescale mining firms to gain the upper hand in mining. While eventually unsuccessful in preventing enterprise miners from taking over the lion's share of Litecoin mining, the cryptocurrency has reworked itself into a minable coin and a peer-to-peer payment system.

How is Litecoin different from Bitcoin?

The first difference between Litecoin and Bitcoin lies in their maximum supply cap. Bitcoin has a supply capped at 21 million, while Litecoin supply is constrained to 84 million. Another distinction between Litecoin and Bitcoin lies in the protocols to mine coins. As mentioned earlier, Bitcoin uses SHA-256 and Litecoin relies on a modified version of Scrypt to generate coins. The difference in protocols has implications on transaction processing times for both coins. Litecoin is four times as fast as Bitcoin in processing and confirming transactions. The speed in processing transactions can come at the expense of security because fewer rounds of transaction verification are involved. Litecoin confirmation time of 2.5 minutes (as opposed to the roughly 10 minutes that Bitcoin takes to confirm transactions) is convenient for small merchants who do not want or need their transactions to be super secure.