And What Can Be Done to Change It
Litecoin (LTC)–It’s time for Charlie Lee’s coin to stop playing little brother.
Litecoin has long positioned itself as an agreeable asset to be used alongside Bitcoin. While Bitcoin offers certain advantages in media-spotlighting, household name appeal and scarcity (21 million coins vs LTC’s 84 million total supply), Litecoin has come to be seen as a better option for transactions. Since the inception of the currency in 2011 (originally as a hard fork of Bitcoin founded by Charlie Lee), the phrasing around Litecoin has been a “silver” to compliment Bitcoin’s gold. Initially, this served as a smart tactic by both Lee and the Litecoin community, as a way to ride the positive press, interest and crypto-enthusiasm in Bitcoin without having to pose as a direct competitor.
But times are changing.
In the Shadow of Bitcoin
As we move into 2018 and the market-share dominance of Bitcoin continues to slip, the moniker of being “second-place” to Bitcoin is damaging to widespread LTC adoption and the usability of the currency over its larger competitor. More than a handful of investors have pointed out that Litecoin benefits from having its price tied closely to Bitcoin: when BTC goes up, Litecoin follows. However, what about the situation where Bitcoin prices plummet? Or, more likely, fail to raise to an appreciable level relative to the rest of the market? Litecoin’s price may benefit in bull-markets from the rising price of Bitcoin (as almost all currencies do), but suffers exponentially from that correlation if Bitcoin fails to continue its growth. We may be seeing the waning days of Bitcoin’s true dominance in the cryptomarketplace.
That’s not to say Bitcoin is going away any time soon. It will likely continue to hold the top market spot for at least the foreseeable future (although Ethereum is a strong contender in 2018). There are enough powerful players backing BTC to ensure it has a strong presence in the marketplace (billionaires Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel, to name a few). Likewise, Bitcoin holds a fascination in the general public. CNBC may be kicking BTC while it’s down, but when the market turns again, or if BTC prices start to climb, expect another wave of positive press.
Benefits of Litecoin
Litecoin doesn’t quite hold the mass appeal of Bitcoin–yet. All of that could change with a strong market push and alteration of the perception around Litecoin. Instead of being the silver/second place/younger brother to Bitcoin, Litecoin’s community needs to push the currency forward as a superior product and solution to the current problems plaguing BTC usability. Litecoin has proven faster transactions and lower costs. Most of these currencies have yet to be stress-tested with the same kind of scaling that Bitcoin has experienced, but Litecoin has ubiquitous segwit implementation and the same possibility for lightning network.
Litecoin doesn’t need to create contention in the way Bitcoin Cash has sought a zero-sum-game with Bitcoin. The heavy-handed antics by Roger Ver and other BCash fanatics is not just damaging Bitcoin, but the industry of cryptocurrency as a whole. We are still in the period of adoption. The more people that come to Bitcoin, through mainstream news outlets or water-cooler talk with coworkers, the more the entire industry is able to benefit. Creating controversy, particularly in the form of slander and claims that “Bitcoin Core is dead,” creates confusion for novice investors, and instills enough uncertainty in the general public to steer clear of crypto.
Instead, Litecoin should continue with the grassroots approach–i.e., letting the majority of people enter crypto through Bitcoin but finding Litecoin organically–with a push to differentiate itself from the parent coin. Many traders have already come to the conclusion that Litecoin is a more usable form of BTC, and exchange Bitcoin to Litecoin when sending currency between exchanges.
Litecoin in 2018
The path Charlie Lee has taken to this point has kept Litecoin relevant but in the shadow of Bitcoin. Despite the stalling cryptocurrency market, we have reached a point of no return with digital currencies. While other coins may offer layers of technology that supersede the usability of the early cryptos, there will always be a need for digital, decentralized, blockchain based currencies. Bitcoin and Litecoin are in a rare position for becoming the token of choice for online commerce giants moving into 2018, because of their long history in the space and diffused market share. If Litecoin offers an advantage in usability–in particular for transactions–now is the time to capitalize. The utility of Litecoin should be its greatest selling point, and there is no easier form of advertising than making a direct comparison to advantages over Bitcoin. The failure to distinguish itself from Bitcoin is going to continue the trend of LTC price being tied solely to BTC, as opposed to the currency being bought and sold on its own merit. It also fails to take into account the many benefits of Litecoin, and why the currency should be a popular choice for transactions and sending/receiving crypto. If Litecoin is unable to break out of this deluge, the market will continue to pass it by, with advantageous transacting currencies like RaiBlocks (instant trx, zero fees) on the rise.
Litecoin has the potential to reclaim a top spot in total market capitalization and potentially challenge Bitcoin as the most usable and easily-recognized cryptocurrency. The community, development team, and Charlie Lee need to take the steps necessary to place Litecoin in a more advantageous light relative to the rest of the market.