Litecoin (LTC) has seen a significant rise in recent months to highs near $50 a coin since trading as low as $1 in 2015. Currently highly volatile over $40 a coin Litecoin is moving up fast as the coin begins to attract mainstream investor attention.

Trading volume on Litecoin has skyrocketed in recent months along with the price from averaging just over $1 million USD to regularly trading several $100 million per day.

Litecoin (LTC) is an open-source, peer-to-peer Internet currency forked from Bitcoin in 2011. Like Bitcoin, it enables instant, near-zero cost payments to anyone in the world. Litecoin’s decentralised network is secured by complex mathematical computation which allows individuals to control their own finances. Compare with Bitcoin, Litecoin features faster transaction confirmation times and improved storage efficiency. It has emerged as a top 10 cryptocurrency by market cap currently at a $2.3 billion total markat valuation.

Litecoin was released via an open-source client on GitHub on October 7, 2011 by Charlie Lee, a former Google employee. It was a fork of the Bitcoin Core client, differing primarily by having a decreased block generation time by 2.5 minutes, increased maximum number of coins, different hashing algorithm (script, instead of SHA-256), and a slightly modified GUI.

Litecoin shares the proof of work concept when it comes to their mining operations with Bitcoin however its mining algorithms are significantly simpler which means it can be mined on less powerfull computerse that use less electricity. Unlike Bitcoin which is caped at 21 million, Litecoin has a lifetime cap of 84 million coins.

One of the factors that has helped LItecoin gain popularity is the fact that it is one of the only coins besides Bitcoin and Ethereum that one can trade on Coinbase, the world’s largest site for buying and selling digital currencies.

Litecoin was also the first to adopt “Segregated Witness” or “SegWit” something that has been at the heart of  bitcoin’s scaling debate since it was first proposed at the end of 2015. “SegWit” was never activated on the Bitcoin network due to technical and political reasons whos users suggested testing the new technology on Litecoin in an effort to help reveal whether the change are valid concerns to bitcoin.

Charlie Lee previously stated on “Segregated Witness” or “SegWit”

“Until SegWit, LN, and Confidential Transactions, I didn’t see a need for Litecoin to come out to help test features before they are on Bitcoin. So I was happy to let Litecoin go on without a lot of development. Hence my tweet about Litecoin not needing development. But with SegWit and Bitcoin’s current block scaling deadlock, I see a potential for Litecoin to help Bitcoin break through this deadlock. Litecoin can take a lead and be a positive force in the cryptocurrency space. We have been drafting behind the Bitcoin race car for many years. It’s about time to take a turn out front.”

Advocates of “Segregated Witness” or “SegWit” are excited about the new technology as it gives them the ability to built on top of the network. The Lightning Network for example which could boost litecoin transactions by as much as a million times can now hypothetically be utilized to move the actual currency. In May of this year, the first Lightning Network transaction was completed through litecoin, transferring 0.00000001 LTC from Zurich to San Francisco in under one second.

Litecoin developer Loshan T told CoinDesk:

“I think today will be a great day for pushing more awesome tech into Litecoin. With SegWit activated on litecoin’s mainnet, I cannot wait until we deploy confidential transactions, Lightning Networks, MAST and Schnorr signatures.”

Currently trading at a $2,363,116,741 total market valuation Litecoin is the number 7 most popular cryptocurrency by market cap. The coin initially reached the 1 billion market cap on May 9, 2017 and has more than doubled that valuation in 3 months as the con soars over $40 a coin. Litecoin (LTC)  is currently running up the charts back towards its recent all time highs on significant daily trade volume which regularly tops several $100 million per day.

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