For quite some time Bitcoin reigned alone in the cryptocurrency world after its launch in 2009, and though a revolutionary creation, there were some in the industry that saw a few problems with it . Others still weren’t comfortable being under an absolute monopoly in this brave new world.

A little after two years of the release of Bitcoin, LiteCoin came online.

With the aim of solving some of the perceived problems with Bitcoin, on October, 7 2011, former Google engineer Charlie Lee announced the release of Litecoin as an alternative to Bitcoin with a few tricks of its own, allowing it to stand outside the long shadow of its bigger cousin.

What is Litecoin?

This is a decentralized and fully anonymous virtual currency that was made on the same blockchain technology that Bitcoin is made from. It offers its users the ability to send money from peer-to-peer in an extremely fast, and highly private way without the need of any traditional financial vehicles like Banks.

How is Litecoin Different from Bitcoin?

Litecoin from it concept was designed to have stark differences to Bitcoin, and it is also made to make transactions more efficient that what Bitcoin offered. Some of the major differences between the cryptocurrencies include:

  • Coin Cap: One of the first differences to notice between the two cryptocurrencies is their total number of possible coins. Although Bitcoin and Litecoin all recognize the importance of having a limited supply in driving up value, each has taken quite a different turn in the amount of coins that will eventually be available on the network.Bitcoin, being the first to come into the industry, came with a limit of 21 million coins to be ever created on its blockchain. When Litecoin came online it offered its users a larger possibility of getting the coin as it pegs its coin limit to 84 million coins.
  • Speed of Transaction: One of the biggest points of criticism that Bitcoin perennially suffers from is the fact that it can be very cumbersome to deal with.Specifically, transactions are just not fast enough for daily transactions (i.e. cup of coffee, gasoline station) and anyone making micropayments with little fees attached to them will have to wait even longer to have their transactions cleared.Litecoin has been designed to be four times faster than Bitcoin. While it take Bitcoin up to 10 minutes to generate a fresh block (group of transactions), Litecoin only takes 2 and a half minutes to add a new block to the blockchain. As such, it is faster to have your transaction verified using Litecoin than it is with Bitcoin
  • Costs of Transaction: Another thing that Litecoin was conceived to address as compared to Bitcoin is the high fees Bitcoin miners continue to charge to verify transactions on the Bitcoin Blockchain.It is often uneconomical to send micropayments through Bitcoin, as the fees charged are often times higher than (or at least a significant percentage of) the actual amount being sent. Bitcoin allows its miners to set their transaction fees for verifying payments which means if you need swift processing you have to increase the fees you are willing to pay.Litecoin on the other hand came with an extremely cheap transaction fees which are often close to zero. This makes it ideal for everyday transactions as well as sending small payments without fear of huge fees.

How to do I Get Litecoin?

There are two major ways of acquiring Litecoin.

You could create your own mining rig getting into the mining end of things (at this point, it’s probably not a profitable option).

You could also purchase a cloud-mining contract.

Or, you could simply buy Litecoin through a reputable exchange.

Exchanges work in different regions of the world with different modes of purchase. Some accept credit card payment while others strictly accept instant bank transfers to their accounts. Also other variations could be the maximum amount of Litecoin you are allowed to buy in your first few transactions.

Noting these subtle differences between the various exchanges, there are certain general steps that you could follow for every exchange in order to buy your first Litecoin:

  • Navigate to the site of your chosen exchange, and sign up.
  • Fill in the necessary personal details including your name, date of birth, and email address. You’ll likely also need to send pics of scans of at least 1 other piece of government identification (e.g. drivers license, utility bill).
  • Open your inbox and verify your registration using the link provided in the confirmation mail.
  • Go back to the site and look for your account settings page on your dashboard.
  • Check for available payment options and choose whatever works best for you.
  • Add your payment details.
  • Grab your Litecoin!

Keeping Your Litecoin Safe

Whenever you are making a Litecoin purchase from an exchange make sure you have your own offline Litecoin wallet ready that you will use to immediately transfer your purchase once the deal is done. It is always advisable to keep your Litecoin holdings away from your exchange wallet as previous experiences have shown that even the biggest exchanges can suddenly become bankrupt and go down with their user’s money.

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You can either use a software wallet like Jaxx, which you can install and access on your computer or mobile device. Or, if your Litecoin holdings are considerable, you may want to buy a hardware wallet to keep your Litecoin safe and away from sophisticated cyber criminals.

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