Bitcoin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin. It seems to the average person that when the media spotlights cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is the type they mention nine times out of ten. As a matter of fact, there are many consumers out there who aren't aware there are any other digital currencies besides Bitcoin. There is a reason for that, of course; Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency ever introduced (in 2009), and to date it is the most popular among traders and investors. There is a downside to that, though: Bitcoin is also the most often hacked and stolen cryptocurrency, and its popularity has also made it the most expensive to trade.
What, then, is the alternative? If Bitcoin is number one, what digital currency is number two?
The answer - at least today - is Litecoin. Online cryptocurrency resource website Coin Pursuit's Founder and CEO, Spencer Forrest, said, “We're constantly being asked about alternatives to Bitcoins. They're out of the price range of some investors now, but they still want to take part in cryptocurrency trading. We make it a point to let them know there are more affordable alternatives such as Litecoin out there.”
Litecoin was introduced in 2011, and despite Bitcoin's two-year running start, Litecoin has consistently held the second-highest spot on the digital currency markets. Since it is somewhat lesser-known than its more popular competitor, the currency has experienced less volatility in the markets. This is attractive to more nervous investors who are put off by the roller-coaster fluctuations of the more active Bitcoin trading.
As Forrest pointed out, the main attraction to Litecoin is price. Not only is it more stable in comparison to Bitcoin, it is considerably less expensive. For example, current market prices for Bitcoin are in the upper $500 range, whereas Litecoins are trading between $15 and $20 per coin. Forrest notes, “Your average investor can pick up a Litecoin or two with each paycheck, where buying Bitcoins takes a more serious financial commitment, a commitment some people just can't make.”
Litecoin advocates - while admitting its price is an important factor - like to point out their currency has more going for it beyond the obvious. Some of those features are as follows:
Quicker Transaction Times. Litecoin's block chains - the interlinked blocks of data that contain transaction verification information - support a larger number of transactions per block than their competitors, yet the process of “mining,” or verifying the information in those blocks, is designed to be faster. What this translates to is shorter waiting periods for Litecoin translations to be validated. As a comparison, the average Bitcoin transaction takes somewhere in the neighborhood of four minutes to be verified; with Litecoin, that time is reduced to approximately two-and-a-half minutes.
Easier Mining. Many digital currency investors like to take part in the “mining” process of validating transaction information blocks. Miners can earn extra coins, both as “block rewards” for successful mining, as well as a percentage of the transaction fees in the blocks they mine. Bitcoins are mined through an algorithmic system known as SHA-256, whereas Litecoin uses the Scrypt algorithm. What does that mean, exactly? Well, the SHA-256 method uses much more computer resources and time than Scrypt does. Investors who mine SHA-256 currency often form “mining pools,” where several miners team up and pool their resources to carry out the process. In contrast, the Scrypt algorithm is much friendlier to individual miners.
On the other side of that argument, Bitcoin devotees point out that Litecoin - being a somewhat less “active” commodity - will never generate the return on investment (ROI) that Bitcoin will. Forrest offered a word of advice on that subject: “People who are investing in cryptocurrency as a get-rich-quick scheme are in it for the wrong reasons. We like to let our readers know they should invest because they love the concept, and that they should be aware of the risks involved, no matter which currency they choose.”
Finally, the author of this release would like to clarify that it has been written and distributed for informational purposes only. It is not intended as professional investment advice. No endorsement of any product or commodity is intended, nor should it be inferred.
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