For those who remember the early days of crypto, there weren’t nearly as many tokens as there are now.
There were the pioneers like Bitcoin (BTC 0.12%) and Ethereum (ETH -0.17%), which still dominate the headlines today. And then of course there was a batch of altcoins that probably got more attention back then than they do now because they were some of the first altcoins at the time. One of those was Litecoin (LTC 0.79%), which is still alive and doing as well as any cryptocurrency can, considering the current state of the industry this year.
Litecoin got its start all the way back in 2011, and despite the sell-off this year still has close to a $4.7 billion market cap, making it the 14th-largest cryptocurrency today. If you had invested $500 in Litecoin in 2016, here’s how much you would have now.
An OG altcoin
Litecoin was developed by former Google engineer Charles Lee as a response to Bitcoin. When Lee started the network and coin, he referred to it as a “lite version of Bitcoin.” The code is also a modified version of Bitcoin’s open-source code.
The network does have several similarities to Bitcoin. For instance, Litecoin still operates on a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism, in which miners on the network try to solve a cryptographic puzzle as quickly as possible to get the opportunity to verify transactions in a block. In return for their service, the miner that is selected receives a reward in Litecoin coins. However, Litecoin uses a less-energy-intensive PoW consensus mechanism than Bitcoin.
Also like Bitcoin, Litecoin does have a finite supply — 84 million Litecoin coins compared to Bitcoin’s 21 million. Roughly 70 million Litecoin coins have already been issued, but the last Litecoin coin still isn’t expected to be issued for another 100 years.
One big difference between Litecoin and Bitcoin is that Litecoin can process 54 transactions per second (TPS), compared to Bitcoin, which can only do less than 10. When Litecoin first came out, this was considered a big deal because payment networks need to handle a lot of TPS if they are going to be able to scale and avoid the congestion that slows the network and results in high usage fees. For instance, Visa, the largest payment rail in the world, is capable of processing 24,000 TPS.
In terms of price movement, while Litecoin is valued much less than Bitcoin, it has largely moved in tandem with the world’s most valuable crypto, as so many cryptocurrencies do.
If you invested $500 in Litecoin in 2016…
Several years ago, I think Litecoin was a much bigger deal than it is today. Now there are a lot of networks that can process more TPS than Litecoin. That said, I think as one of the older cryptocurrencies, Litecoin will continue to get a lot of respect because of its legitimacy, which is a big deal right now after the collapse of crypto exchange FTX.
If you had invested $500 in Litecoin in 2016, you’ve done quite well. At the end of November 2016, Litecoin traded for just $3.86.
Today, it trades for more than $65, which means investors that got in on the token in late 2016 have seen a return of roughly 1,592% versus 72% for the S&P 500 Index. That means $500 invested back then is worth about $8,460 today.
Bram Berkowitz has positions in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Visa. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.