Bitcoin’s rise has been as meteoric as it has been unexpected. The few who understood the potential of the currency are either very rich or very upset. With money from Europe, Asia and America flowing into the digital currency, Bitcoin seems fairly steady at around $1000, but it can be volatile on occasions.
Bitcoin is not alone however, and following the currencies strong libertarian leanings a market has sprung up with competitors attempting to refine, enhance and ultimately profit from the Bitcoin model. While many of these alternative coins are simply poor imitations trying to ride Bitcoins coat tails for cheap money, a few of them have taken off, and the biggest by far is Litecoin.
Often described as Silver to Bitcoins Gold, Litecoin is the only other cryptocurrency to break the $1bn market cap after a spike to $50. It has since fallen away but sits comfortably above $800m ($900m at time of writing) to the $12-13bn of Bitcoin.
Litecoin seems to be the only coin beside Bitcoin that is breaking through into public consciousness: (a story that ZipZap will be making it available to buy over the counter across the UK and Russia) and with public exposure comes price rises and investment.
Litecoin itself operates similarly to Bitcoin, with users mining the coin from blocks, using their computers to solve complicated mathematical problems and eventually solve the block and earn the coin. However, Litecoin users argue that their coin has big advantages over its more popular cousin. Firstly, Litecoin is easier for the average Joe to mine, making the coin more accessible. Bitcoin is nowadays mined with purpose built machines that cost thousands of dollars which has made mining from standard computers a loss making exercise. Litecoin uses a different mining system, one that mining cartels have been unable to purpose build for, and so is still profitable to mine from your basic at home PC.
Secondly, Litecoin has much faster confirmation times, – the speed at which the network processes, records and accepts a transfer — so Litecoin is much faster for trading, something that is especially useful if coin is to go mainstream and be used as an actual currency.
Where will Litecoin, Bitcoin and digital currency go in the future? No one can say for sure, however cryptocurrency has seen a massive surge into public conscience, fought off predictions of its demise after sites like Silk Road went under, and ultimately started to make an impact on mainstream business; sites like Paypal say they may accept it in the future. While many say Bitcoin has much further to rise, at $1000 a coin it’s a little out of many people’s price range, which means Litecoin, which trades at around $30-35 a coin is becoming an attractive prospect for those who don’t want to miss the digital coin boat.