Is Litecoin a Bootleg Version of Bitcoin?
Litecoin has received a fair amount of attention as a lighter version of Bitcoin. In fact, the name Litecoin derives from the original purpose of the cryptocurrency to serve as a lighter version of Bitcoin.
In that sense, Litecoin is a bootleg version of Bitcoin. However, the word “bootleg” has very negative connotations due to its association with piracy, so most in the tech industry would refer to Litecoin as a Bitcoin fork.
Why Was Litecoin Created?
First, Litecoin was created in 2011 by former Google engineer Charlie Lee as a fun side project. He basically just wanted to create a fork of Bitcoin that solved some of the problems that Bitcoin had regarding large block sizes and slow block times.
The two biggest differences between Litecoin and Bitcoin are that Litecoin relies on Scrypt for its hashing function, which makes the blockchain much more difficult for ASIC miners. This has changed somewhat in 2021 when mining computers that could mine Scrypt were released.
The other difference is in the block speed – Bitcoin has a block speed of ~10 minutes while Litecoin has a block speed around two and a half minutes.
This means that transactions get confirmed much faster (4x faster) on Litecoin than on Bitcoin. However, it does make the blockchain a little less secure.
Litecoin is a Fork, Not a Bootleg
Litecoin is a fork of Bitcoin, it was actually the first fork of Bitcoin, and not a bootleg of Bitcoin. A bootleg has a negative connotation that implies intellectual property was stolen or used in an unauthorized manner. This was simply not the case with Litecoin. It is perfectly legal to fork a cryptocurrency project that uses an MIT copyright license like Bitcoin.
As a matter of fact, this is how progress is made in the cryptocurrency industry. A developer creates a project and makes the code public so that anyone can fork it to make their own modifications. If the forked version ends up being more popular, then that’s perfectly ok and probably better for the industry overall.
We saw a similar situation when SushiSwap, a fork of Uniswap, became much more popular than Uniswap by offering better incentives for users to lock money on the protocol. It does happen on occasion that a fork is better than the original.
Does The Bitcoin Community View Litecoin Negatively?
Surprisingly, the Bitcoin community does not view Litecoin negatively. They certainly view it better than other Bitcoin forks like Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold.
It’s important to note that the popularity of Litecoin. along with all Bitcoin forks, has waned in recent years as more competitors that offer far more than Bitcoin have entered the cryptocurrency space.
This means that a lot of Bitcoin users have begun to not even pay attention to the lower competitors like Litecoin. Instead, many users will focus on more relevant competitors that offer smart contract compatibility like Ethereum and Solana.
Is Litecoin a Good Investment?
Litecoin is probably not a good investment in 2022. It still has a fairly high market cap of approximately 9 billion US dollars, but many investors became skeptical of Litecoin when founder Charlie Lee sold all his holdings in the early part of 2017.
In fact, many investors consider Lee selling his holdings as the end of the project.
Anyway, the gap between Litecoin and Bitcoin has widened with Bitcoin becoming the clear leader. As such, Litecoin is no longer viewed as a serious competitor to Bitcoin. Other competitors like Ethereum and Solana have emerged as much more viable options because of smart contract deployability on their blockchains.
That mostly covers it for whether or not Litecoin is a bootleg of Bitcoin. Litecoin is certainly not a bootleg of Bitcoin as Bitcoin has an MIT license that allows anyone to use the source code in their own project. Many in the Bitcoin community supported Litecoin on release because it was viewed as a good stepping stone for people to enter the nascent cryptocurrency industry.
Sadly, the project is on a downward trajectory and has mostly been forgotten by the greater cryptocurrency industry despite having a fairly large market cap. The founder selling his holdings in 2017 led to many investors believing the project was over.