Litecoin (LTC) is one of the major cryptocurrency alternatives to bitcoin, sometimes called an altcoin. It is not to be confused with Litecoin Cash (LCC), a cryptocurrency which, despite borrowing Litecoin's name and promising returns for existing Litecoin holders on its website, is not affiliated with Litecoin.
Litecoin was created in 2011 by Charlie Lee, a former employee of both Google and Coinbase. Litecoin was designed to run on a Scrypt-based mining system, in an effort to prevent miners with expensive, high-end equipment from gaining a significant advantage over other miners. This was to prevent a hardware "arms race" similar to the one happening among bitcoin miners.
In February 2018, the Litecoin Foundation announced that it was working with cryptoasset development company Beam to potentially integrate MimbleWimble, a privacy, scalability, and security-augmenting software protocol, into the Litecoin protocol. After the news broke, LTC's price climbed 10 percent.
In July 2018, the Litecoin Foundation announced that it had acquired a 9.9 percent stake in Germany's WEG Bank AG in exchange for helping the bank develop cryptocurrency payment methods for its customers. This payment method is also being developed with TokenPay, a blockchain developer. When news of the deal broke, Litecoin's price briefly spiked above $81.
In December 2018, the Litecoin Foundation announced that it had entered into a partnership with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), making LTC its first-ever crypto sponsorship.
In April 2019, Forbes reported that since the beginning of that year, Litecoin had experienced a gain of over 200%. By doing so, it had outperformed bitcoin, Ether, XRP, and Bitcoin Cash. By the middle of May, the price of LTC broke $100. Litecoin continued this upward trend into June, in which its price surpassed $135 per coin, a 330 percent increase since the start of the year, marking a 13-month high. One Twitter user quipped that LTC was doing so well, "Craig Wright will soon be claiming he's Charlie Lee."
In August 2019, the Litecoin Foundation began receiving decreased donations. According to Xinxi Wang, a board director at the Foundation, a number of employees volunteered to decrease their salaries in order to help the Foundation "weather the storm." The organization did not actively seek donations from the community in Q1 of 2018. News of this came a week after The Block reported that the Litecoin Foundation had depleted 75 percent of its cryptocurrency reserves since Q2 of 2018. Lee, whose donations have accounted for 80 percent of the foundations funding since 2017, told Coindesk in a story published on August 28 that he would remain committed to funding the Litecoin Foundation. He said that his goal is for the Litecoin Foundation to become self-sustaining from donations, partnerships, and merchandise sales. Wang told Chinese news site XCong that the financial issues the Foundation was having were had no correlation "between donations and enthusiasm," and that the decreased price of Litecoin in Q1 2019 had just as much to do with the Foundation's financial issues as the low volume of donations.
Litecoin Cash (LCC)
In February 2018, the crypto company Litecoin Cash (LCC) was announced as a fork, or offshoot token, of Litecoin. Charlie Lee has firmly stated that this alleged fork is not genuine and that Litecoin is not affiliated with Litecoin Cash in any way. He also issued a warning to investors that they could potentially "lose everything" by investing in LCC, implying that it is likely a scam.
In December 2019, the Litecoin network's hash rate had fallen by 70 percent, causing the mining difficulty to decrease significantly.
In February 2018, Lee predicted that Litecoin would overtake Bitcoin Cash in terms of price and market cap by the end of the year, in a phenomenon that he called "The Flappening." His prediction came true in December.
The Miami Dolphins
In July 2019, the Miami Dolphins announced that it had teamed up with the Litecoin Foundation to accept payments in LTC. According to the Miami Dolphins Vice President & Chief Information Officer Kim Rometo, this partnership allows home game attendees of Miami Dolphins NFL games to purchase its 50/50 Raffle - half the proceeds of which go to charity - with LTC (or BTC). “The Miami Dolphins are always looking for ways to enhance the fan experience, and this partnership with Litecoin provides the ability for guests to enjoy our 50/50 raffle while donating to a great cause,” Rometo said in the press release. The partnership was planned to "kick off" on September 5, 2019.
On August 5, 2019, Litecoin halved its rewards as scheduled when the Litecoin blockchain reached the trigger block height of 1,680,000. The price rose briefly after the halving. Although the halving was forecasted, it was expected to have a significant disruptive effect on the economics of Litecoin mining in the short run.