Litecoin (LTC) is one of the oldest cryptocurrencies in existence after Bitcoin, having launched in October 2011. It was developed by Charlie Lee, who remains involved with the coin to this day. Litecoin is a codebase fork of Bitcoin which means it doesn't share any history or connection to the Bitcoin genesis block. As a fork, it has many similar characteristics to Bitcoin, but has opted for shorter block generations times of around 2.5 minutes. This allows transactions to be added to the blockchain sooner.
Because of the decreased block generation time, it quadrupled its base supply to 84 million to compensate for the inflation rate. Currently, Litecoin has lower transaction fees than Bitcoin and can be used as a digital currency on the web to pay for goods and services and to play at crypto casinos.
The value of Litecoin has grown significantly, and the currency’s market cap now exceeds $4 billion. Part of Litecoin’s surge in popularity in 2017 has been attributed to the currency being able to adopt and test a number of new features before Bitcoin, such as Segregated Witness and the Lightning Network, technology which allows the network to process more transactions.