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Official Litecoin logo
Ticker symbolLTC
 ​11000lites,[1] millilitecoin, mŁ
 ​11000000microlitecoins, photons, μŁ
Original author(s)Charlie Lee
Initial release0.1.0 / 7 October 2011; 12 years ago (2011-10-07)
Latest release0.21.2.1[2] / 7 June 2022; 2 years ago (2022-06-07)
Development statusActive
Forked fromBitcoin
Written inC++
Operating systemWindows, OS X, Linux, Android
Developer(s)Litecoin Core Development Team
Source modelOpen source
LicenseMIT License
WebsiteLua error in Module:Official_website at line 90: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
Timestamping schemeProof-of-work
Hash functionscrypt
Block rewardŁ6.25 (as of August, 2 2023), (halved approximately every four years)
Block time2.5 minutes
Circulating supplyŁ73,342,352 (12 July 2023)
Supply limitŁ84,000,000
Exchange rateUS$105 (July 2023)

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Litecoin (Abbreviation: LTC; sign: Ł) is a decentralized peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and open-source software project released under the MIT/X11 license. Inspired by Bitcoin, Litecoin was among the earliest altcoins, starting in October 2011.[3][4] In technical details, the Litecoin main chain shares a slightly modified Bitcoin codebase. The practical effects of those codebase differences are lower transaction fees,[5] faster transaction confirmations,[4] and faster mining difficulty retargeting. Due to its underlying similarities to Bitcoin, Litecoin has historically been referred to as the "silver to Bitcoin's gold."[6][7][8] In 2022, Litecoin added optional privacy features via soft fork through the MWEB (MimbleWimble extension block) upgrade.[8][9]


Units and divisibility[edit]

Currency codes for representing litecoin is LTC. Its Unicode character is Ł.

One litecoin is divisible to eight decimal places. Units for smaller amounts of litecoin are:

  • lites, or millilitecoin (mŁ), equal to ​11000 litecoin,
  • photons, or microlitecoin (μŁ), equal to ​11000000,
  • the litoshi, which is the smallest possible division, and named in homage to bitcoin's smallest denomination the satoshi, representing ​1100000000 (one hundred millionth) litecoin.



By 2011, Bitcoin mining was largely performed by GPUs.[10] This raised concern in some users that mining now had a high barrier to entry, and that CPU resources were becoming obsolete and worthless for mining. Using code from Bitcoin, a new alternative currency was created called Tenebrix (TBX). Tenebrix replaced the SHA-256 rounds in Bitcoin's mining algorithm with the scrypt function,[11] which had been specifically designed in 2009 to be expensive to accelerate with FPGA or ASIC chips.[12] This would allow Tenebrix to have been "GPU-resistant", and utilize the available CPU resources from bitcoin miners. Tenebrix itself was a successor project to an earlier cryptocurrency which replaced Bitcoin's issuance schedule with a constant block reward (thus creating an unlimited money supply).[11] However, the developers included a clause in the code that would allow them to claim 7.7 million TBX for themselves at no cost, which was criticized by users.[13]

To address this, Charlie Lee, a Google employee who would later become engineering director at Coinbase,[14] created an alternative version of Tenebrix called Fairbrix (FBX).[3] Litecoin inherits the scrypt mining algorithm from Fairbrix, but returns to the limited money supply of Bitcoin, with other changes.

Creation and launch[edit]

Lee released Litecoin via an open-source client on GitHub on October 7, 2011.[15] The Litecoin network went live on October 13, 2011.

Litecoin was a source code fork of the Bitcoin Core client, originally differing by having a decreased block generation time (2.5 minutes), increased maximum number of coins, different hashing algorithm (scrypt, instead of SHA-256), faster difficulty retarget, and a slightly modified GUI.[citation needed]


After launch, the early growth of Litecoin was aided by its increasing exchange availability and liquidity on early exchanges such as BTC-e. During the month of November 2013, the aggregate value of Litecoin experienced massive growth which included a 100% leap within 24 hours.[16][17]

In early 2014, Lee suggested merge mining (auxPOW) Dogecoin with Litecoin to the Dogecoin community at large. In September 2014, Dogecoin began merge-mining with Litecoin,[18] providing increased security for Dogecoin and a permanent block subsidy that previously was not available with Litecoin mining.


In 2017, Bech32 is a Litecoin address format specified by analog of bitcoin BIP 0173 proposal. It is used for the native segwit version 0 output types, P2WPKH and P2WSH. The Taproot softfork added another output type called Pay to Taproot (P2TR). P2TR outputs and future native segwit versions use an updated variant of Bech32, called Bech32m (specified by BIP 0350). This page tracks the adoption of Bech32 and Bech32m. The first payment gateways to launch Bech32 was Apirone, BTCPay Server, CoinGate, CONFIRMO and cryptochill.

In 2020, PayPal added the ability for users to purchase a derivative of Litecoin along with Bitcoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash which could not be withdrawn or spent as part of its Crypto feature.[19][20]

In September 2021, a fake press release was published on GlobeNewswire announcing a partnership between Litecoin and Walmart. This caused the price of Litecoin to increase by around 30%, before the press release was revealed as a hoax.[21]


In May 2022, MWEB (Mimblewimble Extension Blocks) upgrade was activated on the Litecoin network as a soft fork. This upgrade provides users with the option of sending confidential Litecoin transactions, in which the amount being sent is only known between the sender and receiver.[22]

In June 2022, PayPal added the ability for users to transfer Litecoin along with Bitcoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash between PayPal to other wallets and exchanges.[23]

Differences from Bitcoin[edit]

Litecoin is different in some ways from Bitcoin:

  • The targeted block time is every 2.5 minutes for Litecoin, as opposed to Bitcoin's 10 minutes. This allows Litecoin to confirm transactions four times faster than Bitcoin.[24]
  • Scrypt, an alternative proof-of-work algorithm, is used for Litecoin. It differs from Bitcoin's SHA-256 algorithm in part by including a sequential memory-hard function, requiring asymptotically more memory than an algorithm which is not memory-hard.[25] Due to Litecoin's use of the scrypt algorithm, FPGA and ASIC devices made for mining Litecoin are more complicated to create and more expensive to produce than they are for Bitcoin, which uses SHA-256.[26]
  • Litecoin is merge mined with another prominent cryptocurrency (Dogecoin),[27] increasing miner compensation and network security for both blockchains.[28]
  • Litecoin has a maximum circulating supply of Ł84,000,000, which is four times larger than Bitcoin's maximum circulating supply of 21,000,000.[29][lower-alpha 1]
  • Both Litecoin and Bitcoin retarget their mining difficulty every 2016 blocks. However, due to the 4x faster block speed for Litecoin, mining difficulty retargets occur approximately every 3.5 days. This compares to approximately every 14 days for Bitcoin.[31]
  • MWEB optional privacy was added to Litecoin's base layer in May 2022 via soft fork.[9] This allows amounts held within wallets and transaction amounts within MWEB to be private.[32]

Third party vendors providing point of sale infrastructure for Litecoin include companies such as Verifone,[33] BitPay,[34] and Coingate.[35] BitPay added support for Litecoin in 2021, with Litecoin initially accounting for less than 3% of BitPay transactions.[34] As of June 2023, Litecoin surpassed Bitcoin as the #1 most used method for transactions by payment count with 34.9%.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. The supply will approach, but never reach, 21 million. Issuance will permanently halt c. 2140 at 20,999,999.9769.[30]:ch. 8


  1. renaming of mLTC/µLTC to lites/photons
  2. "Litecoin v0.21.2.1". 7 June 2022. Retrieved 2022-07-11.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Ex-Googler Gives the World a Better Bitcoin". WIRED. Archived from the original on 2018-07-09. Retrieved 2017-10-25. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gibbs, Toby; Yordchim, Suwaree (2014). "Thai Perception on Litecoin Value" (PDF). International Journal of Social, Education, Economics and Management Engineering. 8 (8): 2589–2591.
  5. Miglietti, Cynthia; Kubosova, Zdenka; Skulanova, Nicole (20 May 2019). "Bitcoin, Litecoin, and the Euro: an annualized volatility analysis". Studies in Economics and Finance. 37 (2): 229–242. doi:10.1108/SEF-02-2019-0050. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help)
  6. Mandjee, Tara (2014). "Bitcoin, its legal classification and its regulatory framework". Journal of Business & Securities Law. 15.
  7. Jumaili, Mustafa Lateef Fadhil; Karim, Sulaiman M (2021). "Comparison of two cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin and Litecoin". Journal of Physics: Conference Series. 1963 (1): 7. Bibcode:2021JPhCS1963a2143J. doi:10.1088/1742-6596/1963/1/012143. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ismail, Ashiana. "Permissioned blockchains for real world applications." PhD diss., 2020.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Hake, Mark R. (February 14, 2022). "Litecoin Should See Broader Appeal With New Privacy Technology". Nasdaq. Retrieved July 14, 2022.
  10. Browne, Ryan (2017-12-20). "Litecoin founder Charlie Lee says he's sold all his holdings in the cryptocurrency". CNBC. Retrieved 2024-02-01.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Lee, David, ed. (May 5, 2015). Handbook of Digital Currency: Bitcoin, Innovation, Financial Instruments, and Big Data. Elsevier Science. ISBN 9780128023518. Search this book on
  12. "scrypt page on the Tarsnap website". Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  13. Deng, Robert H. (3 August 2017). Handbook of Blockchain, Digital Finance, and Inclusion, Volume 1: Cryptocurrency, FinTech, InsurTech, and Regulation. United Kingdom: Elsevier Science. ISBN 9780128104422. Search this book on
  14. "Litecoin founder Charlie Lee has sold all of his LTC". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 2021-02-21. Retrieved 2018-08-20. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  15. Hacıoğlu, Ümit, ed. (2019). Blockchain economics and financial market innovation: financial innovations in the digital age. Contributions to economics. Cham: Springer. p. 213. ISBN 978-3-030-25275-5. Search this book on
  16. Charlton, Alistair (2013-11-28). "Litecoin value leaps 100% in a day as market cap passes $1bn". International Business Times, UK Edition. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-12-16. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  17. Cizek, Jakub. Bitcoin as a leader of crypto-currencies: A predictability study (PDF). Charles University. p. 11. Search this book on
  18. Murdock, Jason (2021-04-14). "How to mine dogecoin as 129 billion tokens in circulation". Newsweek. Retrieved 2022-07-13.
  19. BBC (2020) "PayPal allows Bitcoin and crypto spending", October 21.
  20. Crypto with PayPal is here,
  21. "Walmart denies tieup with litecoin, fake statement rattles cryptocurrency". Reuters. 2021-09-13. Retrieved 2021-09-13.
  22. "MWEB Has Officially Activated". Litecoin Foundation. 2022-05-20.
  23. PAYPAL (2022) "PayPal Users Can Now Transfer, Send, and Receive Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin", June 21.
  24. Steadman, Ian (2013-05-11). "Wary of Bitcoin? A guide to some other cryptocurrencies". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 2014-01-16. Retrieved 2014-01-19. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  25. Hameed, Sufian; Farooq, Sameet. "The Art of Crypto Currencies" (PDF). IJACSA.
  26. Coventry, Alex (2012-04-25). "Nooshare: A decentralized ledger of shared computational resources" (PDF). Self-published. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-01-12. Retrieved 2012-09-21. These hash functions can be tuned to require rapid access a very large memory space, making them particularly hard to optimize to specialized massively parallel hardware. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  27. McGleenon, Brian (24 November 2022). "Why is this crypto token rising amid crash and FTX collapse?". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved 7 December 2022.
  28. "Why You Should Care About Litecoin: It's the Backbone of Dogecoin". Yahoo Finance. 2023-08-02. Retrieved 2024-02-01.
  29. Nakamoto; et al. (1 April 2016). "Bitcoin source code - amount constraints". GitHub. Archived from the original on 1 July 2018. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  30. Antonopoulos, Andreas M. (April 2014). Mastering Bitcoin: Unlocking Digital Crypto-Currencies. O'Reilly Media. ISBN 978-1-4493-7404-4. Search this book on
  31. "Crypto Guide: Understanding the Nuances of Bitcoin vs. Litecoin | SimpleSwap". SimpleSwap | Cryptocurrency exchange blog. Retrieved 2024-02-01.
  32. Silveira, Adrián; Betarte, Gustavo; Cristiá, Maximiliano; Luna, Carlos (2021-09-04). "A Formal Analysis of the Mimblewimble Cryptocurrency Protocol". Sensors. 21 (17): 5951. arXiv:2104.00822. Bibcode:2021Senso..21.5951S. doi:10.3390/s21175951. ISSN 1424-8220. PMC 8434605 Check |pmc= value (help). PMID 34502842 Check |pmid= value (help).
  33. "CORRECTING and REPLACING PHOTO BitPay and Verifone Partner to Exclusively Enable Cryptocurrency Acceptance on Payment Terminals and In-App/eCommerce". 2021-09-28. Retrieved 2022-07-16.
  34. 34.0 34.1 "Bitcoin's Dominance of Crypto Payments Is Starting to Erode". Time. Retrieved 2022-07-16.
  35. "Supported Cryptocurrencies For Each Service - CoinGate". Retrieved 2022-07-16.
  36. "BitPay: Blockchain is revolutionizing how the world pays, learn the stats behind the shift". BitPay. Retrieved 2023-07-25.

External links[edit]

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