Litecoin is said to be “the silver to Bitcoin’s gold”, a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency. Technically, it is nearly identical to Bitcoin and is based off of Bitcoin’s code. It differs from Bitcoin in the following ways: It processes blocks every 2.5 minutes as opposed to Bitcoin’s 10, utilizes scrypt for its proof-of-work algorithm, and its maximum circulation is 84 million, 4 times as much as Bitcoin’s.
Litecoin was among the first altcoins to be patterned after bitcoin as it was created in October 2011 by Charlie Lee. A former Google employee, Lee was hired by bitcoin consumer and merchant tools and marketplace firm Coinbase in 2013, but continues to be involved with ongoing development of litecoins.
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Following bitcoin, litecoin is arguably the best known and sports the second highest market cap, having a total supply that briefly exceeded $1 billion in late 2013. Other than bitcoin, litecoin is the most available crypto-currency for trading and merchant purposes, with support being offered by such firms as GoCoin, BTC-e, BTC China, Bitfinex, and Huobi. In April 2014, GoCoin processed the purchase of a Tesla Model S with litecoins, which was believed to be the largest single payment made using the crypto currency.