Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Author’s opinions are his own.
Dubbed “the digital silver,” Litecoin is a digital currency that can be described as Bitcoin’s younger sibling. But everyone dropped the “younger” part for a while on July 5 when the trade volume of LTC surpassed US$1 billion, leaving BTC in the rearview mirror for a moment. Its popularity continues to increase almost as fast as that of Bitcoin. It’s just that Bitcoin is already a household name while Litecoin gained wider visibility only this past Spring.
Litecoin is very much like Bitcoin, only instead of mythical Satoshi it has a publicly known figure attached to it – it was created by a developer named Charlie Lee who is still very much involved with the day-to-day workings of its brainchild. Essentially, Litecoin is a fork of Bitcoin, created as an alternative to the first modern cryptocurrency. The code is based on that of BTC, and both networks are based on the same blockchain principle where every next block contains the hash function of the previous one. The mining processes for both currencies are mostly similar. However, LTC mines faster, and the overall theoretical maximum number of Litecoins will be four times more than Bitcoins.
Computers that have Litecoin wallets installed on them make up the Litecoin network which enables them to trade in this cryptocurrency freely. Since 2011, Litecoin’s cap has reached $2.6 billion, and over the past few months, its value has experienced 10x, eventually reaching $45.
Despite Litecoin being just as much a victim of the same cryptocurrency hype, we think that this altcoin has the potential to perform above the market in the coming months. LTC is strengthening its position in the cryptocurrency market. Currently, LTC is a good hedge against the situation with BTC. The $36 support zone demonstrates good positions. Due to the overall volatility, spikes and offsets below $36 may occur, but this is a fundamentally good zone for purchases. According to our forecast, the foreseeable future may find “the digital silver” trading at $65 per 1 Litecoin.
In addition to our technical analysis, there are other fundamental factors that speak for the growth of Litecoin. The currency has been in “hibernation” for quite some time now, with its rate floating around $3-4. However, the spiking appetite for cryptocurrencies has stimulated investors to look at LTC, one of the oldest coins on the market. Several recent developments made Litecoin a growth leader and the most successful digital asset on the market. Last year, the rising demand led the digital wallet Jaxx to integrate Litecoin in all of the supported platforms, including the IoS devices. At the same time, Litecoin has made the shortlist of 9 cryptocurrencies that have been approved by the developer community and added to AppStore.
Implementing SegWit on the Litecoin network, however, has become the true revolutionary development that’s fueled the growth of LTC, simultaneously rubbing Bitcoin’s nose in it. Enabling SegWit on the Bitcoin platform would require the approval of at least 95% of its users which at this point looks increasingly far-fetched: the Bitcoin community is currently embroiled in a civil war between those supporting and opposing SegWit (editor’s note: read this for recent developments on SegWit). On the Litecoin side, with a more reasonable 75% threshold, things did go a lot smoother. At this point, the SegWit argument seems far from conclusive, in the near term we expect the consequences this decision to prove positive. According to the developers, SegWit implementation further improves the network’s capabilities to carry out private transactions, e.g. Lightning Network, MAST, and Schnorr. For example, The Lightning Network can now perform a million times more LTC transactions.
Another recent positive development was Charlie Lee leaving the management of Coinbase to fully concentrate on Litecoin, his main project. The team is now putting a lot more effort into promoting the platform which includes Charlie’s appearances at various cryptocurrency conferences. Later in June, the team announced adding a full-time developer, a renowned cryptocurrency specialist Shaolinfry who had been collaborating with the project pro-bono since 2016. Donations received via the team’s Telegram group, together with the income from the hardware wallet Ledger Nano Limited Edition, allows the team to begin employing a full-time developer. The project’s website mentions a possibility of another skilled developer stepping on board, along with other specialists.
And that’s not all the good news: BitGo, one of the leading Bitcoin solutions provider, announced support for LTC at the end of June. The company will take responsibility for the security of the network. So far, the founders had all reasons to emphasize the security and reliability of Litecoin: there has been no known successful attacks, nor any hard forks yet. “The community requires a safe and secure network: speed and functionality can be upgraded later,” the founders say. This is why the ideologists of “the digital silver” expect greater demand from the financial sector, pinning particular hope on China where LTC is quite popular.
We expect a growing appetite for LTC from the mining community. On the one hand, a steady stream of hardware updates is to help. Just in the beginning of 2017, Charlie Lee shared on Twitter his admiration for AntMiner L3 Scrypt ASIC from Bitmain, capable of 250 MHS at just 400 watts power draw, but recently its processing power has been surpassed by Innosilicon A4 Dominator which pulls 280 MHS but consumes a lot less energy. On the other hand, one of the largest Bitcoin mining pools, BTCC, has announced support for LTC in July. To put this in context, BTCC represents about 7% of the overall BTC mining market. According to Charlie Lee’s Twitter, this should spark the overhaul of the Litecoin mining market.
Together with other Litecoin supporters, we think that this cryptocurrency is undervalued against Bitcoin. Both tools are much alike, but the advantages of LTC are clear: faster transactions, a strong team of developers, and a clear SegWit-defined strategy. July 2017 brought an overall correction to the cryptocurrency market, but LTC remained more stable, compared to other altcoins. It has shown a 1,000% growth since March ($3.85), and we expect a further bullish trend, hoping to meet other investors at $65-70.
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