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Charlie Lee Calls Curtains at Coinbase to Focus on Litecoin Development

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:57 PM
Joseph Young
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:57 PM

Charlie Lee left his position as the director of engineering at Coinbase to solely focus on the development of Litecoin, following the cryptocurrency’s recent momentum as a result of the activation of Bitcoin Core development team’s transaction malleability fix Segregated Witness (Segwit).

“Today’s my last day at Coinbase! I will miss working with you all. I’m going to shift my focus to Litecoin now,” said  Lee.

During his career at Coinbase, Lee led the Coinbase development team to innovate and improve the efficiency, flexibility and functionality of the wallet platform and digital currency exchange. The efforts of Lee and his team at Coinbase allowed Coinbase to secure 7.7 million customers, which officially made Coinbase the second largest bitcoin wallet platform behind Blockchain.

Over the past few years, Coinbase has processed over $6 billion worth of digital currency trades across 32 countries it supports. Most recently, Coinbase became the first company within the cryptocurrency market to reach a billion dollar valuation.

Various sources revealed that bitcoin exchange and wallet platform Coinbase is set to raise around $100 million at a $1 billion valuation to address its rapidly growing user base and platform. In May, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong revealed that Coinbase added 40,000 users in a single day as demand rose amid economic uncertainty and financial instability.

Throughout the immense growth period of Coinbase from becoming a Heroku app-based wallet platform to a billion dollar startup, Lee was at the helm of development as one of the few competent technical experts within the cryptocurrency market.

Lee Announces His Resignation, Focus on Litecoin

On June 9, Lee officially announced his resignation as the director of engineering at Coinbase. In a statement, Lee told the cryptocurrency community that he will solely focus on the development of Litecoin amid its recent momentum following the activation of Segwit and successful tests of two-layer solutions such as Lightning.

In late April, Lee began to convince major Litecoin miners based in China to signal for Segwit. He explained that on top of being a valid scaling solution, Segwit is an excellent transaction malleability fix which establishes an infrastructure for two-layer solutions like Lightning and TumbleBit.

On April 21, Litecoin Global Roundtable Resolution 001 was announced, in which major mining pools including Bitmain (Antpool),, BW.com, F2Pool and OKCoin expressed their support towards the activation of Segwit.

The activation of Segwit led by Lee marked a major milestone for both Litecoin and bitcoin, as it demonstrated the possibility of activating Segwit to Litecoin and Bitcoin communities.

The agreement read: 

Through a voting process, the participating members unanimously agree to the following plan regarding to Litecoin protocol upgrade:

  1. To implement Segregated Witness softfork on Litecoin.
  2. When the usage of Litecoin block capacity is over 50%, we will start to prepare for a solution to increase the 1MB block size limit through a hardfork or soft fork.

Lee successfully brought the Litecoin community to consensus in regard to scaling, which hasn’t been done in bitcoin yet. Following the activation of Segwit led by Lee, Blockstream infrastructure tech engineer Rusty Russell announced that the first Lightning payment on Litecoin from Zurich to San Francisco was settled.

“Christian patched the Blockstream Lightning implementation to work on Litecoin, and two hours after Segregated Witness activated on Litecoin, he opened a Lightning channel between lightning clients in Zurich and San Francisco worth about 1.3 US cents. Once the channel was set up, he transferred 0.00000001 LTC (1 litecoin-satoshi) in under a second,” wrote  Russell.

Litecoin’s activation of Segwit and settlement of a Lightning payment and channel demonstrated the possibility of a wider range of applications that can be deployed on top of Bitcoin. It also reassured the community that with Segwit, two-layer solutions and other viable scaling solutions, bitcoin can in fact scale proportionally and efficiently.

Lee’s shift to Litecoin was well accepted by Litecoin and bitcoin communities. With Lee’s resignation from Coinbase and his dedication to work on Litecoin full time, the cryptocurrency and its blockchain network could see major progress in terms of scaling and innovation in the near future.

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