What is Litecoin?

Litecoin (LTC) is a type of cryptocurrency based on the same technology that Bitcoin uses. Its creator, Charlie Lee, is credited with saying that Litecoin is the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. It can be used to make payments online in the same way that you can with Bitcoin (BTC) or Bitcoin Cash (BCH). It can also be traded on crypto exchanges and may be used on certain websites, such as online sportsbooks, to place wagers and purchase products. There are also a small number of physical stores which accept Litecoin as a form of payment.

Charlie Lee is a divisive character in the community. He often takes to social media for behaviour that many view as unbecoming of someone in such a position of power. There are also critics who claim that Litecoin is merely a copycat version of Bitcoin. But whatever your views on Litecoin, there is no doubt that it is easily one of the most widely used cryptocurrencies today.


Is Litecoin Different to Bitcoin?

On a fundamental level, Litecoin and Bitcoin are very similar. The world of crypto is based on open sourcing, which means that the code behind currencies like Bitcoin is free for others to use and modify. When a person or company decides to use Bitcoin’s code but implements some changes, this is often referred to as a fork. Just like a single pathway can reach a point where it splits off in two different directions, a currency can be forked to become two different currencies.

Litecoin is a fork of the original Bitcoin code, making it very similar to Bitcoin overall. But there are still some significant differences between the two.


Coins

As is usually the case with cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin has a finite total number of coins which can be mined. This number is capped at 21 million. Of course, bitcoins can be broken down into tiny fragments, but there is still an absolute maximum.

Litecoin also has a cap of total coins, but it is four times as large at 84 million.


Speed

One of the main purposes of introducing Litecoin was to help tackle the speed and scalability issues Bitcoin suffers from. Once you’ve made a Bitcoin transfer, you have to wait for it to be confirmed on the blockchain. This takes on average around ten minutes, although when the network is going through a busy period, this can stretch to hours or in some cases days.

Making a transfer with Litecoin is much faster in general, averaging two-and-a-half minutes for a confirmed transfer. This is incredibly important to users. For instance, someone who wants to place an in-game bet on a Litecoin sportsbook might not be able to afford to wait a whole ten minutes or longer for their funds to arrive.

It’s worth noting, however, that Bitcoin does have plans to drastically improve transfer times with the introduction of the Lightning Network.


Science

The nuts and bolts behind Litecoin are similar to Bitcoin’s, but there are important differences. One of these is a completely different algorithm. While Bitcoin uses SHA-256, Litecoin uses something called Scrypt.

Although SHA-256 is viewed as an altogether more complex system, it has allowed a minority of miners to mine Bitcoin very efficiently through multiple machines. This means that these users have somewhat of a monopoly on the way Bitcoin mining operates.

Litecoin was designed to combat this specifically. Its algorithm is simpler, which means that regular users have a better chance of mining themselves. More recently, however, some programmes have emerged that aim to make mass mining easier, suggesting Litecoin is heading the same way as Bitcoin in this respect.


Where Can I Buy Litecoin?

If you’re looking to purchase Litecoin, it won’t be too difficult to find. This is because Litecoin has, for some time, enjoyed a privileged position as one of the few cryptocurrencies available on Coinbase. This is largely down to the man behind Litecoin, Charlie Lee. Not only is he the founder of Litecoin, but he is also the former Director of Engineering at Coinbase.

Coinbase is one of the largest crypto exchanges in existence today as well as being a very common entry point for new users of crypto. Being very simple and user-friendly, it is ideal for people who don’t have a great understanding of how to buy crypto. All you have to do is sign up and enter a few details, after which you’ll be able to instantly buy BTC, ETH, BCH and LTC in a straight swap for fiat coins.

You can also trade for LTC at most crypto exchanges. For instance, you can trade for LTC at Binance, Poloniex and Bitfinex.

To find out more about how to buy Litecoin, take a look at our guide to buying Bitcoin. Many of the processes are nearly identical, whether you’re buying Bitcoin or Litecoin.


What Is Special About Litecoin?

So what is it about Litecoin that makes it one of the most widely used coins on the market? There is not one particular thing that makes Litecoin popular, but rather a collection of factors.

Litecoin is a coin that makes use of Bitcoin’s technology but aims to improve on some fundamental flaws to enhance speed and scalability. It is widely available to trade and spend on websites, sportsbooks, casinos and exchanges. And it has a very vocal founder – something that couldn’t be further from Bitcoin’s enigmatic creator or creators. Known only under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, very little is known about Bitcoin’s founder except for the fact that they have Japanese roots.

All of these factors contribute to what makes Litecoin special. Note that Litecoin is not to be confused with Litecoin Cash, which is a fork of Litecoin just as Litecoin is a fork of Bitcoin. The emerging Litecoin Cash has been written off by Charlie Lee as a gimmick, although only time will tell if the emerging coin is to grow in popularity.


Do Sportsbooks Accept Litecoin?

When it comes to gambling online, there are plenty of options with Litecoin. The big draw of many Litecoin-based games is that they include technology – an indication that they are provably fair. What this means is that you can reverse engineer every hand, roll or spin after the fact and prove that the outcome was randomly generated. Here are some examples:

  • Litecoin Dice: This is a probability game, usually based on a randomly generated number between 1 and 100. You get to set your own odds by choosing the range of wins, and you will be able to see that the game was random after the fact. Sites which offer these games include a trail of the last 20 (or more) games for you to be able to check the results of those too.
  • Litecoin Hi-Lo: This is another simple game in which you have to guess “high” or “low” to get through a sequence of cards. Since the odds you get are parlayed, you can choose how much risk you are prepared to take for each card. Again, these games are provably fair.
  • Ponzi Games: These are an entertaining twist. You have to make sure you are not the player left holding the bounty when 24 hours are up. Once you buy a string from the previous player, 0.01LTC will be added to the total. You then try and sell the string. If someone buys it you make a profit; if not, you get 10% as a consolation prize.

Bitcasino.io is a fully featured casino which operates on the platform provided by CoinGaming. This includes 3D slots by the acclaimed BetSoft, a range of table games, video poker and Keno. You will also find a Live-Dealer casino. As the name suggests, this operator also accepts Bitcoin. If you enjoy sports, Bitcasino also has a fully featured sportsbook.

Fairness is a big plus for many Litecoin casinos and sportsbooks, but a heavy drawback is the graphics. For sportsbooks in particular, layouts and visuals are important to locate the betting market you want. Appealing aesthetics make the experience more enjoyable, including in-game action. With Litecoin gambling in its infancy, this is something that will no doubt improve with time. But for now, it could be a hurdle for players who like their sportsbooks polished.