Litecoin Forks: Their Origins And Reasons For Splitting Away
Litecoin (LTC) was launched in 2011, one of the first altcoins to emerge after Bitcoin made waves among cryptography enthusiasts just a year prior. Litecoin's goal was simple: to become the silver to Bitcoin's gold. It didn't try to overtake the first cryptocurrency to captivate the metaverse—instead, LTC made up for all of BTC's shortcomings, from developing a shorter block generation time (a fourth of Bitcoin's) to possessing a larger coin supply and implementing an innovative Scrypt algorithm to make mining a lot more user-friendly.
Litecoin currency soon ballooned in popularity, constantly finding itself at the top five cryptocurrencies by market cap and only recently losing its place to newer altcoins. Regardless, the Litecoin network has proven its relevance despite all odds—it still boasts a healthy market cap of over $8 billion and remains a focal coin in many investors' portfolios. However, in the subjective world of cryptocurrency (where preferences range from dog-inspired meme coins to algorithmically anchored coins), LTC can't possibly please everyone, hence why the network has been forked multiple times over the past decade.
What is a Fork?
A cryptocurrency fork is akin to a fork in a road: the network splits and creates two diverging pathways. However, a fork doesn't simply create parallel, equally viable networks with separate coins like branching roads might do—they produce a “child” coin that shares similarities to its parent currency has unique features or characteristics. From the blockchain’s perspective, forks share the same transaction history until the point of splitting—where the original and newly-formed network would then go their own ways.
Of course, not every fork results in an immediate and permanent split from the original chain—in fact, most forks are debated hotly among cryptocurrency enthusiasts before finally being implemented. In particular, they often begin as disagreements between two parties in the original network, forcing one side to split off to improve certain aspects of the blockchain. In addition, there are various types of forks, with the most popular being hard forks, which result in a complete split in the network, operations, and native token.
An Overview of Litecoin Forks
The Litecoin blockchain has rules encoded into it—also known as the blockchain protocol—that dictate which blocks and transactions are valid for the system. In the event of a possible divergence in the community's opinions, there is typically an “upgrade” to the set of standards that resolves any dispute, allowing the blockchain to move forward with all agreed-upon changes. However, if this upgrade can't be achieved by consensus (which would have been coded beforehand), then those who disagree are given the option to leave the original blockchain and create a fork with a new set of standards. This process, also known as a hard fork, creates two versions: the original Litecoin network and the new LTC fork with revised specifications.
You've likely heard of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), the successful hard fork that split off from the Bitcoin blockchain in hopes of improving the network's scalability. Litecoin experienced a similar hard fork in 2018 when a team of developers created Litecoin Cash (LCC), which promised faster transaction speeds and a 90% cut in fees. However, the Litecoin Cash fork soon came under fire when Charlie Lee, the founder of Litecoin, expressed that the fork is a scam that was created in hopes of mirroring BCH's success, as the community was reportedly uninterested in splitting the network in the first place. LCC has since fallen off the radars with an unimpressive valuation of $0.012 despite the bull markets that followed its release.
Einsteinium is a blockchain most haven’t heard of, and that’s because the cryptocurrency market is flooded with altcoins for various purposes that don’t always involve becoming a scalable, useable real-world currency or investment product. Instead, many tokens are used as sub-financial tools, whether for promotions, game currency, fundraising assets, and more. The EMC2 is one such token, with a blockchain forked from Litecoin and a unique goal of becoming a platform for crowdfunding scientific research projects in various fields, including education and healthcare. At $0.02 and a market cap of just a hair over $6 million, the EMC2 is not a widely-traded coin but still rides with bull markets—evident in its 500% price hike from February to April 2021.
Feathercoin is an early Litecoin fork from 2013, but it has retained operations for the past seven years. It boasts a similar goal of democratising cryptocurrency for all but with a more robust algorithm called NeoScrypt hashing, which significantly improves the network’s mining system. FTC enjoyed an eventful release as it became a widely popular investment vehicle with a price that fluctuates according to demand. However, over time, it has since fallen off the charts, now a relatively unknown altcoin with just over $5 million in market cap and a value of $0.02 per coin.
Recent Developments in The Litecoin Network
The Litecoin Cash fork occurred in 2018 and is the latest network to split from the original Litecoin blockchain. While it was met with massive hype, support quickly plummeted due to the coin’s inability to scale up to expectations. Since then, there has been little interest to create another LTC fork, prompting the network to lay low as an always-present but relatively quiet cryptocurrency, much like its predecessor, Bitcoin.
LTC has remained quiet amid the flurry of new altcoins entering the market for the past few years, hence its fall from the top five coins by market cap. Although Litecoin still defends rank 13 and boasts a bullish high of almost $400 in mid-May, the network is yet to roll out plans for any projects that will commence within the year. However, this stagnation hasn’t stopped whales from going strong, with a recent stunt that added $30 million in LTC wallets despite the coin’s decline in value.
What Comes Next For LTC?
A lack of hard forks doesn’t necessarily equate to a lack of blockchain interest, as conflict isn’t a factor that largely contributes to a network’s longevity. Furthermore, most new altcoins are starting as ERC-20s from the Ethereum currency blockchain or are derived from source codes built from scratch, so it’s also likely that developers are choosing to mint new coins instead of making do with older options. As such, Litecoin continues to be a popular investment option that follows the traditional cryptocurrency model: a decentralised coin that can be used for day-to-day transactions. While not as fancy as today’s mind-boggling altcoin additions, experts Litecoin forecast a long life ahead for LTC, with signs that it may breach $200 by the middle of next year despite the recent crypto sell-off.
Forking is a crucial aspect of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, allowing conflicting parties to enjoy a particular blockchain through various protocols. This feature has empowered developers to actively pursue greater heights by solving issues in existing blockchains—from Litecoin and beyond.
Add comment ×