Litecoin price and how to buy – why has it spiked and is the cryptocurrency as valuable as Bitcoin?


BITCOIN’S LITTLE BROTHER

How serious a player is Bitcoin’s younger sibling, and why is it doing so well now?

MOVE over Bitcoin, there’s a new cryptocurrency in town.

Well actually, digital currency investors will already be well versed in Litecoin – the second largest digital currency that was launched in 2011 and appears nearly identical to Bitcoin, but with a few key differences.

Getty – Contributor

Light by name, not by nature: digital currency Litecoin has soared value over the past year

One important distinction is that the Litecoin Network aims to process a block every 2.5 minutes, rather than Bitcoin’s 10 minutes – which developers claim allows Litecoin to have faster transaction confirmation.

Another is that it uses scrypt as its proof-of-work algorithm, which was aimed to make it impervious to ASIC mining.

litecoin

Alamy

Litecoin was launched in 2011, the digital sibling of Bitcoin

How to buy Litecoin

The cheapest, easiest way to purchase Litecoin is by using your Bitcoin currency at a site such as Bit Bargain.

You can also get hold of Litecoins by mining them, using standard computing equipment.

However, Litecoins have a less developed infrastructure than their heavy weight Bitcoin brother, meaning they’re more difficult to purchase.

The best way for novices to purchase is certainly through using an existing Bitcoin stash.

How has it spiked?

Litecoin reached a new record on December 11, extending its recent gains and increasing its year-to-date (YTD) returns to more than 4,000%.

And on December 12, the currency was up 44.61% in the last month to $312.040.

After beginning out 2017 at $4.33, this latest high represented a YTD return of roughly 4,215%.

The surge can partly be attributed to by the launch of Bitcoin’s futures contract this week, fuelling confidence in cryptocurrency – though in fact the surge had started long before.

How safe is Litecoin?

Anyone thinking of investing in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency should be very careful.

Their values are volatile, with the ability to plummet as quickly as they shoot up.

And investors are frequently targeted by hackers and other criminals who seek to steal their crypto-cash online.

Be especially careful if you are using direct, peer-to-peer platforms to sell and buy cryptocurrencies.

Today the US Securities and Exchange Commission halted a multi-million dollar digital token sale by California-based restaurant review app firm Munchee.

SEC chairman Jay Clayton said there were substantially more opportunities for fraud from initial coin offerings.

The US regulator also warned consumers of the dangers of investing in crypto-currencies issued by firms – the latest in a string of warnings from global regulators.

Is the cryptocurrency as valuable as Bitcoin?

Bitcoin has enjoyed a meteoric rise this year – but its younger sibling Litecoin actually has more than twice its year-to-date gain.

Compared to its 4,215% rise in value, Bitcoin’s 1,800% rise pales in comparison.

But Litecoin is considerably cheaper at the moment, with the $312.040 unit price a fraction of Bitcoin’s £12,626.16 – as valued on December 12.

Whatever happens, the 30 per cent leap in Litceoin’s value this week certainly speaks volumes for the astronomical rise of cryptocurrency.

Man named Satoshi Nakamoto denies he is the creator of Bitcoin

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