Bitcoin vs. Litecoin: What makes them different?

Bitcoin vs Litecoin, Holytransaction

Bitcoin vs. Litecoin: What makes them different?

Bitcoin vs Litecoin, Holytransaction

When it comes to cryptocurrencies, one name stands out from the rest: Bitcoin. Bitcoin is the gold standard upon which all the other cryptocurrencies, cumulatively known as altcoins, are evaluated. And that’s rightly so because Bitcoin is the most popular, the biggest in terms of market capitalization and so far, the one most likely to break into mainstream use. But among the contenders for the throne, one cryptocurrency that closely resembles Bitcoin and the earliest altcoin is Litecoin. It was created primarily to be a “lighter” version of Bitcoin. In fact, many people refer to it as ‘silver’ to Bitcoin’s ‘gold’. 

Why is that the case? An attempt to answer brings us to the issue of Bitcoin vs. Litecoin, exactly what we are trying to explore here. Let’s point out the similarities as well as explain the differences between these two cryptocurrencies.

A brief history

Bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto who released the Bitcoin whitepaper in 2008, before Bitcoin Core was launched on 3rd January 2009. On the other hand, Litecoin was created by Charles Lee and released on October 7th, 2011.

Price and Market capitalization

Whereas Bitcoin and Litecoin share a lot in terms of their blockchain protocols, the same cannot be said about their prices and market valuation. We could say both are dependent on the market trends and user flexibilities, but the variation isn’t even close. Today, bitcoin commands the largest market share, dominating by 42% of the total market capitalization to stand at $163 billion. BTC trades at $9636 against the USD and was at its all-time high of $19,535 on Dec 17, 2017. Bitcoin has a current circulating supply of 16,914,275 BTC against a maximum supply of 21 million coins.

Litecoin, on the other hand, is ranked 5th on coinmarketcap.com with a market cap of $10.4 billion. Its price today is $187, though it climbed to an all-time high of $366 on 19 December 2017 when its market cap was also just shy of $20 billion. Incidentally, Litecoin on that day had a daily volume of an incredible $2.3 billion. The circulating supply of LTC is currently 55, 592,093 LTC with a maximum supply of 84 million LTC. 

When compared in terms of Market capitalization and price valuation, Bitcoin is 10x bigger or more than Litecoin. The same applies to popularity and use. While they both function as a store of value and can be used to make payments for goods and services, Bitcoin is accepted by far more companies and individuals than Litecoin.

Coin supply and transaction speed

Bitcoin and Litecoin differ in terms of the maximum coin supply. While Bitcoin’s total supply is capped at 21 million coins, Litecoin will have a total of 84 million coins. Though they differ in this aspect, both coins are deflationary, and their coin trajectory may appear similar. Another similarity is that both coins are divisible into smaller parts that enable micro-payments for goods and services. The smallest Bitcoin part is called a “Satoshi”.

But the two coins do differ in relation to the amount of time it takes to generate a new block. Litecoin block generation is halved after every 840,000 blocks, which is four times more than bitcoin at 210,000 blocks. For Bitcoin, a new block is generated after approximately 10 minutes. However, Litecoin miners use about two and half minutes to generate a new block. This results in the variation of transaction speeds between the two coins.

Due to having a faster block time, Litecoin’s network is normally able to confirm transactions much faster than Bitcoin. For instance, it would take 10 minutes to confirm four transactions on the Litecoin network, whereas the same amount of time would be just enough to verify one block of transactions on the Bitcoin network. Bitcoin has been implementing changes to its protocol to scale better and increase transaction speed.

It is expected that Lightning Network will make Bitcoin faster. However, Litecoin will look to implement the same protocol as it often times, does with every Bitcoin update.

Mining algorithms

Mining is a very vital component of cryptocurrency, precisely those that use the proof of work mining consensus mechanism. What we said earlier about block generation essentially amounts to the concept of mining. Basically, mining refers to the addition of new blocks to the main chain on the network to form a “blockchain”.  Cryptocurrencies utilize different cryptographic algorithms to secure transactions on the blockchain. Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 algorithm that allows for the use of ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) for mining.

This hardware equipment came to replace the GPU and FPGA miners. Bitcoin mining is a complex activity but can be summarized as the solving of computational math problems to verify and secure a new block to the blockchain. Bitcoin miners (nodes) get rewarded 12.5 Bitcoins for every new block. One criticism leveled at bitcoin mining is that the process consumes a lot of energy resulting in massive electricity bills.

Mining is also an important aspect of Litecoin. Scrypt is the mining algorithm used on the Litecoin network. The Scrypt algorithm is designed to be resistant to customized ASIC miners due to its memory-hard nature. This makes mining Litecoin a lot easier as you can do it using a CPU or GPU. however, there are concerns that Litecoin’s CPU/GPU mining days may be soon over as ASIC miners targeting the Scrypt algorithm have been developed by companies like Zeus and Flower Technology. While miners on the Bitcoin platform get rewarded 12.5 BTC for every new block, Litecoin miners get 25 LTC for every new block validly added to the blockchain. It should be noted that mining Litecoin is relatively cheaper than bitcoin, but Bitcoin could be more profitable for those with the right equipment.

Bitcoin Vs Litecoin, Holytransaction

Conclusion

Bitcoin and Litecoin share a lot in common when it comes to the functional aspect of being stores of value. However, Bitcoin beats Litecoin on numerous fronts, specifically on price valuation and market adoption. Naturally, bitcoin would be an attractive coin for investment, but if you are looking for an affordable crypto with the potential to grow then Litecoin could be it.

This Article was provided by our friend Ronni Martelli

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Jack
Jack

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