Litecoin price leaped by nearly a third on Monday, raising the sixth-largest cryptocurrency to a new all-time high.
For most of December, the litecoin price had traded between $90 and $100, but on Friday it exploded to $130 and continued to rise heading into the weekend. On Saturday, litecoin topped $160 for the first time, but Sunday brought a minor halt to the rally, and the litecoin price slid below $125.
However, bolstered by bullish sentiment among futures traders, the cryptocurrency markets posted a comprehensive advance on Monday, and litecoin has been among the day's top performers. On Bitfinex, the litecoin price touched $185 for the first time, representing a single-day rally of more than 30 percent.
More than one-third of litecoin's trading volume is concentrated in USD and USDT trading pairs, while LTC/KRW accounts for another 12 percent.
Although litecoin has been trending up for some time now, several distinct factors have contributed to its present rally. First, litecoin has benefited disproportionately from Coinbase's rapidly-swelling userbase. Unlike bitcoin and ethereum -- the other two cryptocurrencies that Coinbase currently supports -- litecoin has little name recognition outside of the industry. Anecdotally, it appears that many new Coinbase users are purchasing a small amount of litecoin since it is available on the brokerage platform -- and so much cheaper than bitcoin and ethereum.
Second, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee has been invited on several prominent new programs to discuss bitcoin futures and other developments within the cryptocurrency industry, and he has used these opportunities to pitch litecoin as a solution for everyday payments that complements bitcoin's utility as a store of value.
Finally, investors believe that two recent announcements serve as confirmation of Lee's thesis. First, gaming giant Steam stated that it will no longer accept bitcoin payments, citing rising transaction fees that currently make bitcoin impractical to use for small purchases. Conversely, Bitrefill -- a top-up service for prepaid mobile phones -- announced that it will accept litecoin, and LTC advocates believe that many other companies will follow suit in the near future.
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