The crypto market is as diverse as it is controversial. There are literally hundreds of coins out there, and each of them is vying for the attention (and the money) of crypto fans. Trading this or that coin is all the rage on exchanges, and the volatility of rates make up the essence of the market. The idea behind buying coins is not even to hold them but to trade them.
But there’s always a group of coins that stands out from all the rest. These are the ones that have garnered the greatest acclaim and have reached impressive heights in market capitalization. Ethereum, or ETH, is the silver after Bitcoin’s gold. Still, it’s often positioned in opposition to a rival of Bitcoin – Litecoin, or LTC.
Crypto traders swear by both coins, crypto enthusiasts lead cults for them, and the market sways together with their exchange rates, following their whims. But are these coins worth all the hype, or is the eternal battle between LTC and ETH just an overinflated story that deserves greater scrutiny and less emotion?
What Is LTC? The Coin That Lived
Litecoin was released via an open-source client on GitHub on October 7, 2011, by Charlie Lee. The Litecoin network went live on October 13, 2011, and was the result of a fork in the Bitcoin Core network client. The new coin, branded LTC, or Litecoin, had a decreased block-generation time of just 2.5 minutes. It also brandished an increased maximum in the number of coins issued, had a different hashing algorithm (scrypt instead of SHA-256), and operated on a slightly modified GUI. Throughout November 2013, Litecoin experienced unprecedented growth and even had a 100% rise in price in just under 24 hours. Litecoin even reached the $1 billion market capitalization mark in November 2013 and became a unicorn.
Many people would wonder what Litecoin is in essence or what it is good for. Like many other coins, Litecoin can be bought, sold, or traded on exchanges, and it can be mined. To start mining LTC, a miner first has to get a mining rig with either the slower CPU method or the faster and more efficient GPU method. Miners can either go solo or join mining pools. The mining complexity of Litecoin is not as high as it is for other coins. There are also cloud mining opportunities available, under which miners simply purchase shares in a mining pool and do not have to maintain the hardware by themselves.
At the time of writing, the profitability of mining LTC is relatively good but can be monitored in real time using mining profitability calculators found online. There are multiple channels that openly disclose information about the exchange rate of Litecoin, and many traders are actively seeking and studying materials on how to trade Litecoin with greater profitability.
Trading LTC is also a matter of exchange-rate volatility, but over the recent period, Litecoin has shown relatively stable parameters and is considered a good coin to hold as a value-storage asset. Crypto enthusiasts trade LTC quite a lot, despite its value-holding potential. And though many trade Litecoin, a large percentage of traders prefer to fix their earnings using it. Litecoin’s exchange rate can be predicted relatively easily by observing the charts on various platforms, such as Xena Exchange.
What Is ETH? The Dawn of the Crypto Project Infrastructure
Hardly anyone who has ever ventured onto the internet in recent times would even bother asking what Ethereum is. Ethereum was first conceived in late 2013 by Vitalik Buterin and was explained in the Ethereum White Paper and later the technical Yellow Paper. Buterin is now considered the father of the largest blockchain network and is a cryptocurrency researcher and renowned programmer. Ethereum was first officially announced at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami in January 2014. Later, between July and August 2014, Buterin launched an online crowdfunding campaign to fund the development of his invention. But trouble struck in 2016, when the infamous DAO project's smart contract was discovered to be flawed and was manipulated. The subsequent theft of $50 million worth of Ether led to a split in the community. This schism created a parallel blockchain, or a hard fork. The newly created version became known as Ethereum (ETH), the one we know today, and had the theft reversed. Meanwhile, the original Ethereum network continued to exist under the name of Ethereum Classic (ETC).
Ethereum can be mined freely by miners. It can also be mined via mining pools, cloud mining pools, or personally through CPUs and GPUs, just like LTC. GPU is preferred for its higher output ratio.
The profitability of mining ETH is also subject to a variety of parameters, such as the electricity costs involved, which vary from country to country; the unstable price of the coin; and the fact that the mining hardware becomes obsolete rather quickly.
Ethereum is one of the favorite trading instruments of crypto traders because it’s highly volatile in price, widely available, relatively cheap and easy to acquire on virtually every single exchange known to man. Thousands of traders trade Ethereum worldwide for its volatility and make profit on the trades, and though the price of the coin has experienced its ups and downs, crypto enthusiasts still trade ETH and gladly buy it for its value as a trading asset and as a useful tool on the eponymous blockchain. Even though ETH is the most popular coin after Bitcoin to trade on exchanges, many crypto market participants gladly trade ETC, or Ethereum Classic, the twin fork of Ethereum.
Fight! LTC vs ETH Parameter Battle!
ETH and LTC come from two completely different worlds. Ethereum is a blockchain on its own, with hundreds, even thousands of projects running on it. Litecoin is an offshoot of the great and mighty Bitcoin and is more of a value-storage asset, with virtually no projects using it. Still, both coins occupy highly respectable positions in the crypto hall of fame, and their market caps are what matters most.
At the time of writing, Litecoin holds the respectable fourth place in market capitalization, according to CoinMarketCap. The coin has a market cap of $5,347,888,634, a price of $87.40 per coin, and a daily trading volume of $5,967,331,244, with a circulating supply standing at 61,187,036 LTC.
At the same time of writing, Ethereum has proudly settled into second place in market capitalization according to the same resource. Ethereum brandishes a market capitalization of $17,231,030,990, a respectable price of $163.30, a total daily trading volume of $10,208,799,318, and a total circulating supply standing at 105,515,353 ETH.
The total emissions come next, as the second-most important parameter. The coins have to be mined, but only one of them has a limited supply. LTC has a total emission of 84,000,000 Litecoins, with 22,788,725 coins left to mine.
Unlike LTC, Ethereum has followed a different path of development, and there is no currently implemented hard cap on the total supply of ETH. The coins can be mined forever with no limits. The only factors that could influence their emission are the inflation rate and changes in the source code, although none are foreseen as yet.
Transaction speed comes next, as the essence of the blockchain economy. With speed being of the essence, it’s vital to compare it in the battle of ETH and LTC. Litecoin and Ethereum are comparable in terms of speed, although they have different approaches to ensuring speed. Litecoin prevails in the speed department, as it has an average speed of 30 minutes and a maximum of 56 transactions per second, which is quite impressive when coupled with its commissions. Ethereum lags behind, with an average transaction speed of six minutes and a maximum of 20 transactions per second.
Costs determine everything, and commissions are sometimes the key to determining which coin to use for which endeavor. There is no debate that Litecoin was initially designed as a store of value and transaction medium and is therefore preferred as a method for trading and as a direct competitor to BTC. Ethereum gives way when it comes to commissions, since it charges a fee of $0.85 per transaction, which is incomparable with Litecoin’s $0.04. As such, Litecoin wins this round.
When mining Litecoin vs Ethereum, most would say that LTC is the preferred coin, since it’s a better store of value. But if the objective is trading and money is no issue, then many crypto enthusiasts prefer Ethereum.
Security is one of the main concerns in relation to cryptocurrencies, and Litecoin is considered one of the most secure coins out there. In a tweet from May 30, 2018, Charlie Lee said:
“In lite of recent 51% attacks and http://crypto51.app info, rest assured that the Litecoin is extremely secure and mining is very healthy.”
Charlie Lee is fully confident in the security of Litecoin because it uses a consensus algorithm.
It’s impossible to talk about the security of the Ethereum blockchain in general; instead, we must focus on the security of the Ethereum smart contracts. The blockchain itself cannot be hacked, and the upcoming PoS consensus algorithm update will make it even more secure. A 51% attack is not possible for Ethereum on either the PoW or the PoS algorithms. The smart contract infrastructure, however, has proven to be somewhat vulnerable to attacks in separate apps.
The wallets used for storing LTC and ETH are not comparable, since they are divided into hard and soft wallets. Hard wallets are impossible to hack unless the user loses them physically. Soft wallets are another matter, since they are based online and are inherently vulnerable to attacks, especially if they are exchange-based wallets.
In the Words of the Fathers
Both coins deserve attention, and their founding fathers have every right to express their views on their visions concerning them. Ethereum was designed to be a revolutionary tool for a new economy, and Vitalik Buterin has said much about his creation.
“I generally support just about every secession attempt that comes along. If, in the future, there is that kind of a dispute in Ethereum, I'd definitely be quite happy to see Ethereum A go in one direction and Ethereum B go the other.”
And though Vitalik has faced much criticism about his creation, and even the regulators have pressed the blockchain with accusations, he remains optimistic:
“The thing that I often ask startups on top of Ethereum is, 'Can you please tell me why using the Ethereum blockchain is better than using Excel?' And if they can come up with a good answer, that's when you know you've got something really interesting.”
Litecoin founder Charlie Lee is no less confident in his creation, as he has said numerous times that he sees the future of cryptocurrency not in prices but in market dynamics.
“There’s obviously a lot of scams and currencies not useful at all, and those values will plummet. You are going to see some coins die, and the strong will survive.”
Most importantly, Charlie Lee has expressed his explicit views on his vision for Litecoin not being tied to its price.
“Unlike CEOs of public companies I am not paid to increase the shares of the companies.”
As they say, the rest is history, and it’s solely up to the traders and crypto enthusiasts to determine which coins to mine, which ones to trade, and which ones to believe in. So, in this case, we have a draw in the battle between LTC and ETH, and we’ll let the audience decide.
There has been much speculation about the prices of LTC and ETH for 2019. Though it’s impossible to say for sure what will happen, some analysts are predicting strong growth for LTC in 2019. For instance, analyst Billy Bambrough stated that LTC will experience strong growth in 2019.
“Now, litecoin—one of the oldest rivals to bitcoin, launched in 2011—looks like it could this year overtake Ripple's XRP to break into the top three biggest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.”
As for Ethereum, there are plenty of predictions abound as well. Financial analyst Daniel Jimenez gave some predictions in his recent release:
“Even though many have been optimistic to indicate that Ethereum could reach levels of $1000 by the end of 2019, we do not see sufficient support despite the improvements of its protocols from PoW to PoS and the upgrades of Constantinopla and Casper.”
2019 is certain to be an interesting year for cryptocurrency, as we are witnessing the end of the so-called “crypto winter” and are entering the “crypto spring.”