Litecoin (LTC) has quietly become the most widely used cryptocurrency for payments. According to recent data from crypto payment processor BitPay , Litecoin now accounts for over 38% of all transactions on its platform, an all-time high.
Launched in 2011 as an early Bitcoin spinoff, Litecoin was specifically designed to make peer-to-peer transactions faster and cheaper. More than a decade later, it seems that vision has come to fruition.
While Bitcoin still reigns supreme in terms of total market value, Litecoin processes four times as many daily transactions. Driven largely by growing adoption from merchants and consumers, its blockchain now handles more than 500,000 transfers per day and counting. Back in December, that number spiked to more than one million transactions.
In BitPay’s December figures, Litecoin (LTC) beat out Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Doge (DOGE), and Polygon (MATIC) to be the top method of payment. Although it took the top spot in December and November, it was already running as a close second place. In October, Litecoin was used in 29% of all BitPay transactions, while Bitcoin took 38%. In September it was 29% and 39%, and, in August, 33% and 36% respectively.
Much like its predecessor Bitcoin, Litecoin runs on an open-source blockchain ledger that is decentralized and transparent. There is no central authority or middlemen involved. Transactions are validated through an army of global miners in a process called proof-of-work. This checks and balances system helps ensure the integrity of all activity on the network.
However, Litecoin distinguishes itself from Bitcoin in a few key ways. Most notably, block mining and transaction verification happens 4 times faster – every 2.5 minutes versus 10 minutes on Bitcoin. This speed advantage better supports point-of-sale commerce and other time-sensitive money movements.
Litecoin also utilizes a different mining algorithm known as Scrypt, intended to make the mining process more equitable on standard computers.
Payments also come with minimal fees, often less than $0.10 even on large purchases. Bitcoin fees can be many multiple times higher, making micro-transactions impractical. (In December, they spiked to over $38 due to network congestion). Litecoin also provides users more privacy control over their spending data versus purely transparent blockchains.
Former Google engineer Charlie Lee, who has led Litecoin’s ongoing development through the non-profit Litecoin Foundation, launched the coin in 2011. Lee created the new cryptocurrency based on his learnings from Bitcoin’s early days. He wanted to make a “lighter” digital currency tailored to efficient commerce – in his words, “the silver to Bitcoin’s gold.”
Unlike many cryptocurrencies from its era that have faded or failed, Litecoin has demonstrated remarkable staying power over the past decade. Today, it remains one of the most actively used and widely supported digital currencies on the market.
As of January 8, 2024 it still ranks among the top 20 cryptocurrencies by total market capitalization, currently valued at over $4.75 billion. Out of more than 9,000 cryptocurrencies tracked by CoinMarketCap, Litecoin holds strong as the 27th most traded by daily trading volume.