Litecoin rose to nearly $40 today, from around $24, with China significantly leading the sudden price movement which seemingly began after a statement by Bitmain that they will now accept litecoin payments for their mining gear.
Bitstamp also announced they are to launch litecoin trading on Monday 19th of June, after Coinbase added them a few weeks ago, but China is clearly driving, with their trading volumes accounting for more than 50% of ltc’s trading volume.
That suggests the Bitmain announcement had a very big impact in China. We don’t fully know why, but the announcement is interesting on many levels.
As you can see, Bitmain only accepts btc and ltc, besides dollars, for payments. You’d think eth would or should be there considering its market cap of $30 billion, just 8% off from bitcoin’s market cap, but it isn’t.
The most probable reason is because Bitmain does not mine eth, but bitcoin and litecoin. As such, the move might be symbolic, aiming to place litecoin as an alternative to bitcoin payments, rather than eth.
Litecoin, however, isn’t really used by anyone, with its transaction levels barely above 4,000 a day, compared to eth’s now near bitcoin’s transaction levels of around 200k-250k.
Litecoin received some attention after segwit’s implementation. Since then, if we zoom out a bit, we can see it yolo-ing for quite some time. Sharply rising and sharply falling nearly weekly.
That may be because litecoiners were promised the Lightning Network (LN) more than a month ago, yet LN seems no where to be found even though segwit was activated on the 10th of May.
They said it would be ready as soon as it activates. Once it did activate, they said it’s very alpha, usable only through command lines with no GUI wallet. It’s still not released.
That brings us to bitcoin. It appears likely the currency will now fork. That will most probably split it into two coins with the situation very complicated because Blockstream probably has significant influence over some communication channels, probably exchanges, and maybe even other businesses.
So there wouldn’t be a united front like there was with ethereum, but a probable mess, certainly in the short term. Bitmain, therefore, may be hedging with ltc, but the wider market will probably go with eth since it has a clear roadmap for unlimited scalability, on top of many other things such as confirmation times of seconds and smart contracts.
However, no one knows, making all of the above speculation. But it is somewhat puzzling that litecoin’s 24 hour trading volume is $1.1 billion when its market cap is $2.1 billion.
We have never seen that before, nor does it make much sense, unless it is fully faked, but we have no evidence so we can’t say that is indeed the case.
However, we do owe it to our readers to strongly caution as litecoin isn’t known for holding its value either in the short term or long term, so far in any event.
That makes it considerably more risky than the other two top currencies, which themselves are highly risky, but we are just speculating, since we have no crystal ball, so we may be very wrong in the short term.
In the long term, litecoin is just a copy cat with no added value and the only way it can retain any relevance, in our opinion, is if Bitcoin Core developers move en mass to it.
That suggestion had potential during spring, but as the flag day soft-fork known as UASF campaign may show, they appear to have no interest in doing so.
Which means litecoin might have to compete with Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin Unlimited and Ethereum, but how it can do so remains unclear as litecoin is hardly different to Bitcoin Core except for a vague non-binding promise that they will increase maxblocksize.
The options for the market, therefore, would probably be either Bitcoin Core, with its many developers, Bitcoin Unlimited, with its emergent consensus, or Ethereum with both developers, plans for unlimited scalability as well as smart contracts.