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What is Litecoin?

Litecoin (LTC) is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and open source software project released under the MIT/X11 license. Inspired by and technically nearly identical to Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin creation and transfer is based on an open source protocol and is not managed by any central authority. Litecoin is intended by its developers to improve upon Bitcoin, offering several key differences. As of November 2013, Litecoin had received extended coverage by mainstream media with agencies such as the Wall Street Journal, CNBC and The New York Times citing it as an alternative (or possibly even successor) to Bitcoin. However, for mining Litecoin uses scrypt, instead of SHA256.

Litecoin was released via an open-source client on GitHub on October 7, 2011 by Charles Lee, a former Google employee. It was a fork of the Bitcoin-Qt client, differing primarily by having a decreased block generation time, increased maximum number of coins, different hashing algorithm, and a slightly modified GUI. In 2013, The Economist mentioned Litecoin as a Bitcoin alternative, noting that it "has shot up in price of late."During the month of November 2013, the aggregate value of Litecoin experienced massive growth which included a 100% leap within 24 hours. Litecoin reached a $1 billion marketcap in 2013

A peer-to-peer network similar to Bitcoin's handles Litecoin's transactions, balances and issuance through scrypt, the proof-of-work scheme (Litecoins are issued when a small enough hash value is found, at which point a block is created, the process of finding these hashes and creating blocks is called mining). The issuing rate forms a geometric series, and the rate halves every 840,000 blocks, roughly every four years, reaching a final total of 84 million LTC. Litecoins are currently traded primarily for both fiat currencies and other cryptocurrencies, mostly on online exchanges. To avoid the danger of chargebacks, reversible transactions, such as those with credit cards, are not normally used to buy litecoins as Litecoin transactions are irreversible. Payments in the Litecoin network are made to addresses, which are based on digital signatures. They are strings of 33 numbers and letters which always begin with the letter L. Litecoin transactions are recorded in the Litecoin blockchain (a ledger held by most clients). A new block is added to the blockchain roughly every 2.5 minutes (whenever a small enough hash value is found for the proof-of-work scheme). A transaction is usually considered complete after six blocks, or 15 minutes, though for smaller transactions, fewer than six blocks may be needed for adequate security.

How to get Litecoins?

It is quite simple – there are three ways to get Litecoins:

  • Buy it (needs real money)
  • Mining (requires hardware that is generally expensive)
  • Faucet – like this (it is free, just by entering the your Litecoin wallet address and typing a captcha to prove you are not a robot)

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