As many in the Bitcoin community know, Electrum is an extremely fast and lightweight bitcoin client. Unlike Bitcoin Core (formerly known as Bitcoin-QT) and other desktop clients, Electrum does not need to download the entire Bitcoin blockchain. Instead, the application relies on several public servers that make the wallet so fast and lightweight. Furthermore, Electrum protects users from accidentally losing coins by allowing wallets to be recovered from a secret phrase. However, the wallet exclusively supports bitcoin, leaving Litecoin users in the dark. At least, that was the case until a recent development.
A member of the Litecoin core development team, known only as “pooler”, has been working on a port of Electrum for Litecoin at the request of another core developer – Warren Togami. pooler realised that Litecoin users could greatly benefit from Electrum’s speed, security, and ease-of-use. And since Electrum is open-source, pooler was able to fork the existing code and modify it to work with Litecoin.
“At least a couple different ports of Electrum have popped up during the last few months, but sadly they all turned up to be unsatisfactory, rushed ports. This is why Warren asked me to make an entirely new port as functional, clean and maintainable as possible.
After a couple weeks of patching and testing, I think this port is now good enough for public testing. “
At this stage, Electrum for Litecoin should be considered a beta product, and as such, it should not be used as a primary wallet. Currently known bugs include:
Despite these bugs and the fact that Electrum-LTC is in beta, pooler states, “Pretty much all the functionalities of the Bitcoin Electrum should work out of the box, including the plugins for exchange rates, label syncing and QR scans.”
If you’re brave enough to beta test Electrum for Litecoin, Windows binaries are available here, and OS X binaries will be available soon (although I was able to get Electrum-LTC running on OS X using CrossOver).
For Linux users, four simple lines of Terminal code will get you started:
$ sudo apt-get install python-qt4 python-pip python-dev
$ sudo pip install ltc_scrypt
$ sudo pip install https://electrum-ltc.org/download/Electrum-LTC-1.9.8.tar.gz
In addition, pooler is asking for help from the community to get public servers set up for Electrum-LTC. Electrum for bitcoin manages to be so lightweight by relying on public servers to handle complex tasks, so the LTC port will require the same. At the moment, there are only eight servers available for the Litecoin port, and pooler hopes to have many more to minimise centralisation. The open-source server software is available here, and pooler offers setup instructions here.
Electrum-LTC is a fantastic effort to bring the wonderful Electrum client to Litecoin users. Hopefully the Litecoin community will be willing to get public servers set up, because with a core Litecoin developer spearheading the project, Electrum-LTC should be a winner. Furthermore, pooler has stated that he will not accept personal donations, but has set up a donation fund (LectrumELqJWMECz7W2iarBpT4VvAPqwAv) to thank major contributors to the project.