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Last Updated: April 20, 2022

Litecoin launched in 2011 as a fork of the Bitcoin protocol with minor code alterations.

Over time, Litecoin distinguished itself with a growing user base and the network served as a proving ground for historically significant features now utilized in the Bitcoin network, notably, Lightning Network and Segregated Witness.


Litecoin was created by Charlie Lee, a computer scientist and graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who continued to serve as managing director of the Litecoin Foundation. Lee’s initial vision for Litecoin revolved around engaging mass adoption by improving scalability to make digital payments via crypto more practical for vendors. As time passed, the engineering focus of Litecoin shifted to encompass experimental cutting-edge protocols intended to improve the overall latency, security, and usability of blockchain-based networks.



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What is Litecoin’s place in the ecosystem?


Litecoin uses a unique mining algorithm that adds new blocks to the chain every 2.5 minutes, compared to Bitcoin’s 10 minute intervals. Similar to Bitcoin, Litecoin is compatible with Lightning Network, a second-layer solution featuring specific channels for participants to make rapid payments within the channel, or route payments through other channels via intermediate nodes with reduced fees. Litecoin also implements the Segregated Witness protocol, allowing additional transactions to be added to individual blocks. In addition, Litecoin recently integrated the MimbleWimble (MWEB) protocol, a solution designed to further increase scalability via a confidential transaction structure.


Litecoin supports a maximum of 56 transactions per second, with an average of 2.5 minutes confirmation time until block finality.


Sharing a similar architecture to the Bitcoin blockchain, Litecoin features a governance mechanism that disincentivizes malicious action by imposing excessive costs for attackers to gain significant network control. Although the network is fundamentally secure against external attacks—due to its architecture—individual account custody, as well as smart contract security, are largely managed by users and developers respectively.


As Litecoin is a fork of the original Bitcoin protocol, it also utilizes a proof-of-work (PoW) based consensus mechanism consisting of networks where participants secure the network by operating specifically designed computer rigs, called miners, that confirm blocks of transactions for a reward by solving difficult math problems.


While it is up to the market to determine whether or not Litecoin lives up to the aspiration to be “silver to Bitcoin’s gold,” it does hold the distinction of being a pioneer alongside Bitcoin. Today, the Litecoin Foundation continues to provide educational resources on the transformative role of digital assets for both businesses and individuals.


The Litecoin blockchain is supported by a global community of developers committed to building the functionality of decentralized transaction networks. The Litecoin Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is “to advance Litecoin for the good of society, by developing and promoting state-of-the-art blockchain technologies.”


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