Litecoin, the Scrypt-based clone of Bitcoin, has struggled in a 2014 that has seen a myriad of other altcoins – themselves clones of Bitcoin – vie for recognition as the ideal cryptocurrency. Second generation, non-bitcoin derived cryptocurrencies have apparently displayed more original capabilities. Some have made serious strides toward real-world applications; Ripple’s protocol has been reportedly adopted by several banks and a supporting network, and its valuation has advanced toward all-time highs.
Market apathy toward Litecoin is reflected in its price, which has lost nearly 90% of its value year-to-date. Volumes have also dwindled, now routinely eclipsed by those of Ripple’s XRP.
Not that the emergence of second generation currencies is the main culprit for Litecoin’s underperformance. Bitcoin itself has struggled, so it’s only natural for Litecoin to follow. But the concern goes beyond price. It seems as though Litecoin has stagnated in its evolution, although it’s unclear where it should evolve to or if it’s even capable of such without adversely changing its identity.
Sentiment was best highlighted by a Twitter conversation between founder Charlie Lee and a passionate Litecoin fan. Darth Camel (@litecamel), who has 8636 followers, expressed a view that Litecoin is seemingly dead and that its leaders have shown it no love. “It’s become the unkempt country vacation home,” he said. Expressing his unconditional love for Litecoin, he indicated that it has not been developed enough and asked if the community can at least tweet monthly updates.
Lee also expressed his unconditional love for Litecoin. Therefore, he said, “LTC does not need development right now. Adding gimmicks does not help a currency succeed. Liquidity, merchants, and user does.” In response to Darth Camel’s analogy, he added:
@litecamel Then ask not what Litecoin can do for you, ask what you can do for Litecoin.
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— Charlie Lee (@SatoshiLite) December 16, 2014
And it had a happy ending:
Introducing the new member to our team @litecamel He will be our new marketing, media and social media correspondent! Pm him for questions!
— litecoin (@litecoin) December 16, 2014
Perhaps Litecoin has already maximized its potential. Lee has the tough job of helping it thrive without destroying its identity. Equally tough is striking the balance in recognizing Litecoin’s limited role without discouraging his coin’s followers. He has previously mentioned that Litecoin, like all altcoins, is an experiment toward the ideal cryptocurrency. Steering clear of dogmatic rhetoric commonly heard in the altcoin world, he does not have the luxury of abandoning his creation outright.