Official Litecoin logo
|Ledger||The Litecoin peer-to-peer network regulates and distributes through consensus in protocol.|
|Date of introduction||7 October 2011|
|Inflation||Limited release (geometric series, rate halves every 4 years reaching a final total of 84 million LTC)|
|Source||Historic and Current Charts for LTC.|
|Method||Increasing difficulty per every 2016 blocks produced.|
|0.00000001||Smallest unit or Lite-toshi|
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.
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.
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 
The Litecoin developer team released version 0.8.6.1 in early December 2013. The new version offers a 20x reduction in transaction fees, along with other security and performance improvements in the client and network. The source code and binaries were released early to people in the #litecoin IRC channel, on the official Litecoin forums, and on reddit's /r/litecoin—with information for "power users" to add a Litecoin supernode to the configuration file—while the main site was to be updated after enough of the network was running the new version. This release method was used to ensure that the low fee transactions from version 0.8.6.1 clients would not be delayed by clients running older versions.
Differences from Bitcoin
- The Litecoin network aims to process a block every 2.5 minutes, rather than Bitcoin's 10 minutes, which its developers claim allows for faster transaction confirmation. The drawbacks of faster block times are increased blockchain size and an increase in the number of orphaned blocks. Advantages include greater resistance to a double spending attack over the same period as Bitcoin, if both networks had the same computing power.
- Litecoin uses scrypt in its proof-of-work algorithm, a sequential memory-hard function Clarification Needed
- The Litecoin network will produce 84 million litecoins, or four times as many currency units as will be issued by the Bitcoin network.
The original intended purpose of using scrypt was to allow miners to mine both Bitcoin and Litecoin at the same time. The choice to use scrypt was also partially to avoid giving advantage to video card (GPU), FPGA and ASIC miners over CPU miners. While CPU mining is no longer "profitable," lone CPU miners are still able to contribute to the network and acquire coins when pool mining--the same is no longer possible in the Bitcoin network. Mining litecoin with a CPU and not utilizing the video card is approximately 100-300 times slower than mining bitcoin with a video card depended on hardware. 
Due to Litecoin's use of the scrypt algorithm, FPGA and ASIC devices made for mining Litecoin are more complicated to create and more expensive to produce than they are for Bitcoin, which uses SHA-256.
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 four years (every 840,000 blocks) reaching a final total of 84 million LTC.
Litecoins are currently traded primarily for both fiat currencies and other cryptocurrencies, mostly on online exchanges. Reversible transactions (such as those with credit cards) are not normally used to buy litecoins as Litecoin transactions are irreversible, to avoid the danger of chargebacks.
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.
The most common wallet available today is Litecoin-Qt for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X, based on Bitcoin's Bitcoin-Qt wallet. Litecoin-Qt is an offline wallet. A light wallet is being written and will be released in the coming months.
On February 20th 2014, BitcoinPaperWallet  adapted its codebase to support Litecoin providing full BIP38 passphrase encrypted paper wallets and so-called "Brain Wallets".
As of 2014[update] there are many market exchanges that deal with Litecoin, the biggest one being BTC-E. Most exchanges allow only BTC/LTC trading. Three exchanges also allow LTC/USD and LTC/EUR trading, and one allows LTC/RUR trading.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Litecoin.|
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- "Wary of Bitcoin? A guide to some other cryptocurrencies". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- Percival, Colin. "Stronger Key Derivation Via Sequential Memory-Hard Functions". Retrieved 2013-04-24.
- coblee. "[ANN] Litecoin - a lite version of Bitcoin. Launched!". Retrieved 2014-01-19. "Using Scrypt allows one to mine Litecoin while also mining Bitcoin."
- Coventry, Alex. "Nooshare". MIT. Retrieved 2012-09-21. "These hash functions can be tuned to require rapid access a very large memory space, making them particularly hard to optimize to specialized massively parallel hardware."
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- "Litecoin Block Explorer". Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- "Litecoin wallets". Litecoin.org. 2012-11-11. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
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- bitcoinpaperwallet.com. "Litecoin Paper Wallet Generator". Retrieved 2014-01-21.
- "Service directory". Litecoin Wiki. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
- Official website
- Official Litecoin wiki
- Official Litecoin forum, LitecoinTalk
- Litecoin Paper Wallet Generator