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What is Litecoin?

Learn all about Litecoin, one of the oldest cryptocurrencies.

1 Mar 2021by Jonnie Emsley

Litecoin (LTC) is an open-source, decentralized cryptocurrency that aims to be a payments-focused alternative to Bitcoin (BTC). It is one of the oldest and most established cryptocurrencies, created in 2011 from a modified version of the Bitcoin Core code.

What problem does Litecoin solve?

Litecoin was originally unveiled as being “silver to Bitcoin’s gold,” a digital currency more useful for everyday transactions as opposed to a store of value. From the beginning Litecoin was intended to complement BTC, and not compete with it.

Because of this synergy, Litecoin drew a lot of inspiration from the BTC playbook. Like Bitcoin, Litecoin intends to be a peer-to-peer, decentralized currency that can function outside the purview of central banks, financial institutions, and intermediaries.

Litecoin may be very similar to Bitcoin in many respects, but at a technical level, it intends to be significantly faster and more viable for use in small transactions.

How does Litecoin solve this?

Litecoin has several architectural differences to Bitcoin that enable LTC transactions to be comparatively faster.

While the Bitcoin network produces a block every 10 minutes or so, Litecoin has an average block creation time of 2.5 minutes, making LTC transaction throughput about four times higher.

This is on account of the Scrypt hashing algorithm, a part of Litecoin's “Proof-of-Work” mechanism, responsible for securing the network and making sure all transactions are broadcasted and recorded across its decentralized ledger.

According to the creators of Litecoin, this faster block propagation makes LTC suitable for retail transactions — merchants can afford to wait a couple of minutes to see the payment confirm, whereas with Bitcoin they would have to wait roughly ten minutes.

Who created Litecoin?

Computer scientist and early cryptocurrency proponent Charlie Lee created Litecoin, announcing its launch in October 2011 in a thread on Bitcointalk.

Lee has been instrumental in the development of the Litecoin ecosystem and today serves as the Managing Director of the Litecoin Foundation, a non-profit that funds and supports projects advancing LTC adoption.

What can you use LTC for?

Over the years a number of merchants have decided to adopt support for Litecoin as a payment method, and today there are over 2,500 businesses and stores that accept LTC as payment for goods and services.

Aside from its utility as a payment method, Litecoin can be traded against other currency pairs on hundreds of different cryptocurrency exchanges, as one of the largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.

How can you buy LTC tokens?

To buy Litecoin via MoonPay or one of our partner wallet applications, just select LTC from the drop-down menu, and follow the steps to complete your order.


If you get stuck, check out our handy guide on how to complete an order with MoonPay.