Chris Castiglione Teacher at One Month. Faculty at Columbia University where I teach Digital Literacy. I write about coding, the internet, and social impact.

Bitcoin (BCT) vs. Litecoin (LTC) | What’s the difference?

3 min read

bitcoin vs. litecoin
bitcoin vs. litecoin

Bitcoin and Litecoin are both cryptocurrencies

Today, money is created and managed by individual countries (e.g. the US issues USD, England issues pounds, etc). Bitcoin and Litecoin are revolutionary because the founders have created a global currency that can be used by anyone in the world, and isn’t tied to any country.

Bitcoin was announced in 2009 via an online academic paper. Two years later in 2011 Litecoin was forked (aka. copied) directly from the Bitcoin code because Litecoin’s founder Charlie Lee believed Litecoin could make some adjustments to the code that would offer consumers lower fees, and quicker transaction times.

The innovation behind both Bitcoin and Litecoin is that they allows two people to send money on the Internet without a third party (like a bank). For example, at the moment I can send you money via Paypal, Citibank or Bank of America, but in all of these scenarios we are trusting these companies to manage our transaction. The problem with this current system is that banks take fees to manage our money, and banks are being attacked by hackers daily. Bitcoin and Litecoin allow you and me to exchange money without using a bank, and without relying on a company.

Today, Bitcoin is often regarded as a store of value (similar to how the gold is valued as a global store of value), and for sending higher amounts of money (think: like a wire transfer), rather than for small casual transactions. Litecoin is often regarded as a currency for day-to-day transactions. The popular analogy is that: if Bitcoin is gold, Litecoin is silver (or a credit card).

What is Bitcoin?

  • A decentralized global digital currency
  • Stored on a public ledger (known as a blockchain) where each transaction takes 10 minutes to clear (to be approved)
  • Developed by Satoshi Nakamoto — an unknown figure or group of people

What is Litecoin?

  • A decentralized global digital currency
  • Quicker than Bitcoin because transactions take 2.5 minutes to clear
  • Developed by Charlie Lee (aka SatoshiLite)

Takeaway: Bitcoin is more like digital gold, whereas litecoin is often thought of as a digital cash.

Comparison chart: Bitcoin vs. Litecoin

Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin logo

Litecoin (LTC)

Litecoin Logo

 

What is it?A currency (store of value)A currency (medium of exchange)
InventorSatoshi NakamotoCharlie Lee
Went liveJanuary 2009October 2011
Supply StyleDeflationary (a finite # of bitcoin will be made)Deflationary (a finite # of litecoin will be made)
Supply Cap21 million in total84 million in total
Smallest Unit1 Satoshi = 0.00000001 BTC1 Litoshi = 0.00000001 LTC
New token issuance timeEvery 10 minutes approximatelyEvery 2.5 minutes approximately
Amount of new token at issuance12.5 new bitcoin are issued every 10 minutes. This number will half (to 6.5 new bitcoin) everytime Bitcoin creates 210,000 new blocks. The next halving will be reached 2020.25 new litecoin are issued every 2.5 minutes. This number will half (to 12.5 new coins) everytime Litecoin creates 840,000 new blocks. The new halving will be reached in 2019.
UtilityBitcoin has been trending towards becoming a store of value like code. Although it is also used for purchasing goods and servicesUsed for purchasing goods and services, as well as storing value (much like how we currently use a checking account).
PriceView priceView price
Purpose “Bitcoin is an innovative payment network and a new kind of money.”[฿]

 “Litecoin is a proven medium of commerce complimentary to bitcoin.”[Ł]

Where do I buy bitcoin and litecoin?

Coinbase is the easiest place to buy both bitcoin and litecoin. If you want slightly lower service fees and a more robust interface, then Gdax (a site owned by Coinbase) offers an alternative to Coinbase.

How much does Bitcoin cost?

Cryptocurrency prices are constantly fluctuating given the supply and demand. To keep an eye on bitcoin, litecoin, or any other altcoin (an altcoin is coin other than bitcoin) head to coinmarketcap.

bitcoin vs. litecoin investing

How many tokens are available?

  • The max supply of Bitcoins is 21 million. Every 10 minutes a new block of bitcoin is generated. The final Bitcoin will be mined 2140.
  • The max supply of Litecoins is 84 million. Every 2.5 minutes a new block of litecoin is generated.

What can I do with bitcoin and litecoin?

Bitcoin is trending towards a replacement of gold as a store of value. Whereas gold exists with mass and weight in the physical world, bitcoin is an improvement to gold because it can be split into into very small fractions, and instantly sent to people, businesses, and banks around the world.

Litecoin is promising to replace cash. Due to its lower price and faster transaction times, it’s the perfect solution for buying a coffee, tipping a YouTuber, or gifting a friend or family member.

How do I store bitcoin and litecoin?

Both web wallets, and hardware wallets exist for Bitcoin and Litecoin, and there are a multitude of options ranging high to low levels of security.

bitcoin (฿) and litecoin (Ł)bitcoin (฿) only
HardwareTrezor
Ledger
MobileCoinomiSamourai
BitPay
Mycelium
DesktopExodusElectrum
WebJaxxBlockchain.info
PaperBitcoin Paper Wallet
Litecoin Paper Wallet

How to Learn About Bitcoin and Litecoin

Ready to learn more about Bitcoin and blockchain?

You can join over 60,000 students at One Month where we offer a 30-day Learn Bitcoin and Ethereum course. The course covers blockchain and the top 5 most popular cryptocurrencies. It’s for absolute beginners, and we offer live human support for when you have questions.

Chris Castiglione Teacher at One Month. Faculty at Columbia University where I teach Digital Literacy. I write about coding, the internet, and social impact.