Litecoin (LTC) is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that enables instant, near-zero cost payments to anyone in the world. Litecoin was founded by former Google engineer Charlie Lee in 2011.
Litecoin is nearly identical to Bitcoin in its technical architecture, however the Litecoin Network aims to process a block every 2.5 minutes, rather than Bitcoin's 10 minutes. This allows Litecoin to confirm transactions faster and with lower average costs than Bitcoin, and slightly lower security.
Litecoin is one of the first altcoins, starting as a fork from the original Bitcoin source code in October 2011. It has been called the silver to Bitcoin's gold, and was once the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap. In 2017, Litecoin reached its peak market cap of $19.5 billion. By comparison, the Bitcoin white paper was published on Halloween 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto and the first block was mined in January 2009.
Litecoin's founder, Charlie Lee, is a computer scientist and Managing Director at the Litecoin Foundation. From July 2013 to June 2017, he worked for Coinbase as the Director of Engineering.
Like Bitcoin, Litecoin is an open source and fully decentralized without any central authorities except mathematics. With broad community support, trade volume and liquidity, Litecoin is a worthy competitor to Bitcoin. It's possible mine litecoin with hobbyist equipment right from your living room, although its mining liquidity is dominated by large-scale mining farms.
Due to the frequency of block generation, the Litecoin Network supports more transactions, resulting in faster confirmation times, but users have to wait longer to send higher-priced transactions.
Litecoin has a market cap of $8.8 billion, with an available supply of 66,750,00 and a total supply of 84,000,000, meaning 80% of available litecoin has already been mined.
The native currency of Litecoin is LTC, which users can buy on exchanges like Kraken or the Grayscale Litecoin Trust.
Litecoin is trading at $130 at the time of writing, falling 55% from its all time high of $371 on December 19, 2017.