Litecoin (LTC or £) is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and open-source software project released under the MIT / X11 license. Creation and transfer of coins is based on an open source cryptographic protocol and is not managed by a central authority. Litecoin was an early bitcoin spin-off or altcoin, starting in October 2011. In technical details, litecoin is almost identical to Bitcoin.
Litecoin was released on October 7, 2011 via an open source client on GitHub by Charlie Lee, a Google employee and former engineering director at Coinbase. The Litecoin network went live on October 13, 2011. It was a fork of the Bitcoin Core client, which mainly differed in that it had a decreased block generation time (2.5 minutes), an increased maximum number of coins, a different hash algorithm (scrypt, instead of SHA) -256) and a slightly modified GUI.
During the month of November 2013, the total value of Litecoin experienced enormous growth, including a jump of 100% within 24 hours.
In May 2017, Litecoin became the first of the top 5 (due to market capitalization) cryptocurrencies to adopt Segregated Witness. Later in May of the same year, the first Lightning Network transaction was completed through Litecoin, with LTC 0.00000001 being transferred from Zurich to San Francisco in less than a second.
The Litecoin network tries to process a block every 2.5 minutes instead of the 10 minutes of Bitcoin. The developers claim that Litecoin can get a transaction confirmation faster.
Litecoin uses scrypt in its proof-of-work algorithm, a sequential memory-hard function that requires asymptotically more memory than an algorithm that is not memory-hard.
Due to Litecoin’s use of the scrypt algorithm, FPGA and ASIC devices made for Litecoin mines are more complicated to make and more expensive to produce than for Bitcoin, which uses SHA-256.