What is Litecoin?
Well, Litecoin is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and an open source project created in October 2011. It has been inspired by Bitcoin in most aspects but was introduced with some technical differences such as segregated witness and lightning network (currently BTC too has SegWit and Lightning Network). It also has a very less transaction time(nearly 4 times faster than BTC) and a very low transaction fees, making it ideal for small-size purchases.
Litecoin was basically a fork of the Bitcoin Core client which mainly differed in terms of decreased block generation time (2.5 minutes), increased maximum number of coins and a different hashing algorithm (Scrypt instead of SHA-256).
SegWit and Lightning Network
SegWit is the process by which the block size limit on a blockchain is increased by removing signature data from Bitcoin transactions. When certain parts of a transaction are removed, this frees up space or capacity to add more transactions to the chain. Segregate means to separate, and Witnesses are the transaction signatures. Hence, Segregated Witness in short, means to separate transaction signatures.
The Lightning Network is a decentralized system for instant, high-volume micropayments that removes the risk of delegating custody of funds to trusted third parties. It is one of the first implementations of a multi-party Smart Contract (programmable money) using bitcoin's built-in scripting. The Lightning Network is leading technological development in multiparty financial computation.
Differences between Litecoin and Bitcoin
One very important feature that Litecoin was introduced with but Bitcoin didn't have initially was SegWit. This was blocked by bitcoin miners just to benefit financially. SegWit stands for Segmented Witness . It basically doubles the capacity of any network it is activated on.
LTC already had a transaction capacity that was 4 times more than that of BTC and with SegWit activated, that has become 8 times.
LTC is slightly faster than BTC too as the time for block completion is just 2.5 minutes as compared to BTC's 10 minutes.
How to buy Litecoin?
For any Litecoin transaction, we'll need to have a LTC wallet (just like all other cryptocurrencies a wallet is a must). Litecoins can be easily purchased and sold on a number of exchanges using all types of currencies. Coinbase has also added LTC recently, to be purchased with fiat currency.
Some popular LTC wallets are:
⦁ Electrum LTC : It's a simple and powerful lightweight LTC wallet that doesn't require users to sync to the network.
⦁ LiteVault : Secure online web wallet that functions inside of your web browser.
⦁ Litecoin Wallet can be downloaded from the official Litecoin website too. One can download wallets from the official Litecoin website if they have the supporting OS in their laptops or desktops ( Windows, Mac OS X and Linux ) and smartphones (Android and iOS).
⦁ Hardware Wallet : There are also a couple of hardware wallets like Ledger Nano S, Trezor and KeepKey (all three work with Electrum LTC). All the above mentioned devices are compatible with Electrum LTC and as a result, one can use Electrum LTC wallet to communicate with the hardware wallets.
The private keys in this case, remain in your hardware wallet and the Electrum SPV network does the checking and broadcasting for you. Basically, the Litecoin resides on the LTC Blockchain (in the cloud). The wallet just holds the private keys that allows one to tranfer LTC from one account to another.
The number of LTC wallets are limited as people still use BTC on a daily basis. Sadly, there are not many iOS and Android wallets too for LTC. Having said that, one of the most popular LTC wallets is the Electrum LTC which is a fork of the popular BTC wallet Electrum. If one wants to securely store their LTC, then the use of hardware wallets is the best option.
How Litecoin can be integrated in an application?
It is very easy to integrate LTC into your application . By maintaining full compatibility with the Bitcoin API, LTC is very easy to inegrate into existing applications that already offer BTC support.
A merchant can easily integrate LTC into a website or application by using existing 3rd party shopping cart plugins.
Once your business supports LTC, you can register it on the official LTC website and they'll include it in the site's index.
Some of the 3rd party plugins are :
⦁ Shapeshift.io : Currently used by Overstock.com - "The Safest, Fastest Asset Exchange on Earth"
⦁ Coinpayments : Payment gateway for LTC & BTC
⦁ Alfacoins : An international LTC & BTC payment processor
There are more 3rd party providers like Asmoney, Gocoin, Cointopay and so on. You can have a look at all these 3rd party plugins and choose the best fit for you.
Some merchants that already use LTC are :
As already mentioned above, BTC takes 10 minutes on an average to confirm a transaction while LTC takes only 2.5 minutes. It may seem that LTC is faster but you'll need 4 LTC confirmations to reach the same level security as that of BTC.
BTC might currently seem as a more obvious option as it holds the upper hand in most of the things like Security, Privacy, Acceptance and so on and so forth. This might not be the same in the near future. LTC is picking up slowly. Often LTC and BTC are compared. These comparisions are good as it motivates LTC to be on par with BTC.
After BTC, one usually thinks of LTC or Ethereum. The price of LTC is much lower than that of both, BTC and Ethereum. LTC would be a safer bet, if one decides to invest in crytocurrency as LTC is surely going to more widely accepted and used in the near future.
Currently LTC is priced at $55. The maximum supply for LTC is 84 million and the current supply is slightly more than 53.5 million. For more news and information regarding LTC you can check the official LTC website's news section.
Do not look at LTC in a casual way. You never know what's going to happen in the coming days!!
Disclaimer: This is author's individual view about Litecoin (LTC) and should not be considered as an investment advice by EtherWorld.co