Litecoin has been making some big gains. This surge in price and rumors of some big upcoming announcements for Litecoin mean that Bitcoin’s little brother is finally growing up. If you’re not yet familiar with Litecoin now might be the time to get acquainted. Here’s how to get started using Litecoin.
An Overview Of Litecoin
Litecoin (abbreviated LTC) is a digital peer to peer currency used over the internet. It is based off of concepts similar to the quickly growing Bitcoin protocol with a few differences. Like Bitcoin it is decentralized meaning that it isn’t reliant on a central entity such as a central bank. Rather Litecoin is dependent on the network of users that employ it. It has a finite supply of coins that are being released over time through a process referred to as mining. There will only ever be 84 million Litecoins produced as opposed to Bitcoin’s 21 million limit. Litecoin also has a faster confirmation time than Bitcoin. With Litecoin transaction confirmations arrive on average every 2.5 minutes as opposed to every 10 minutes with Bitcoin.
Like Bitcoin it uses encryption to process transactions but instead of the SHA-256 algorithm it uses a scrypt based algorithm. The scrypt algorithm is more reliant on memory making CPU mining more effective and was part of the initial appeal of Litecoin. Because of the different algorithm much of the specialized hardware that has been developed for Bitcoin will not work with Litecoin. For this reason many people expect GPU miners to eventually switch to Litecoin.
Setting Up The Litecoin Client
In order to use Litecoin you’ll first need to download and set up the Litecoin client. The Litecoin client is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X from this github page or through the litecoin site. Opening the Litecoin client is as simple as finding it in your applications with mac or program files with windows and starting the program. It may take a little while for the Litecoin client to download the Litecoin blockchain (A history of past and recent Litecoin transactions). Once this is complete you’ll be ready to go. It is a good idea to keep the Litecoin client running as it helps support the network and keeps your blockchain up to date.
Using the client is pretty self-explanatory once it is up and running. Send Coins allows you to send Litecoins to another user by entering in their address and the amount to send. Receive coins allows you to manage your addresses, copy them and lets other people send you coins. Transactions is a ledger of all the Litecoins you’ve sent and received to date. The address book allows you to manage a list of addresses and label them so you don’t have to reacquire an address every time you need to send someone coins. Unlike many other wallets Litecoin still has a Mining application built in (More on this in the Get Litecoins section).
Securing Your Wallet
I highly recommend that you take measures to secure your wallet. Litecoin has a built in encryption feature that you can set up by going to settings -> Encrypt Wallet.
Next you’ll be prompted to enter a pass phrase. Make sure that the pass phrase is either something you can easily recall or make sure to store the pass phrase somewhere safe. Your coins will essentially become worthless if you lose this.
A user friendly exchange is Cryptsy.com. It is easy to understand and to execute trades with, unlike most other exchanges you run into. I highly recommend signing up and giving it a try.
Feel free to donate “Litecoins” to: LKrSkdNeNkxkmxAmEML8e5TD4LVYZ5LZXL
Also please feel free to add a litecoin related post to our site with your litecoin address and we will randomly handout portions of any donated litecoins!!