Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are making headlines because the value of these currencies has risen dramatically over the last year. These currencies rely on complicated mathematics and blockchain technology to create a system that allows users to pay, store, and get value from these currencies.
Specifically talking about Litecoin, let's dive in and look at what it is, how it's different than other currencies, and the most important question of all: how to invest in Litecoin. Before you get started with Litecoin, you need a digital wallet. We recommend using Coinbase, which we will discuss a bit more below.
If you're considering investing in Litecoin, realize that there are a lot of risks - but also huge potential rewards. We try to break it down as easily as possible, but this is a complicated subject.
What Is Litecoin
Litecoin is a peer-to-peer Internet currency that enables instant, near-zero cost payments to anyone in the world. Litecoin is an open source, global payment network that is fully decentralized. Mathematics secures the network and empowers individuals to control their own finances.
Litecoin was the third most popular digital currency, behind Bitcoin and Ethereum (okay, it's fallen a little bit due to the popularity of Ripple, but close enough). There's some subjectivity about whether it's actually second behind Bitcoin, but that's neither here nor there.
In 2014, Dash, a competing crypto-currency, split from the Litecoin blockchain. You can learn about investing in Dash here.
How Litecoin Is Different
Litecoin is different than other currencies is a couple key ways.
First, unlike Bitcoin and Ethereum, Litecoin uses a software algorthym (Scrypt) to mine units. This somewhat prevents individuals from making powerful custom computers (or rigs) specifically to mine the currency.
Second, Litecoin has one of the fastest transaction times of the digital currencies, clocking in at 2.5 minutes (versus the 10 minutes for Bitcoin).
Third, and most popular for investors, Litecoin is the cheapest of the three major cryptocurrencies. As of June 2017, Bitcoin was trading at over $2,500, Ethereum was trading at over $300, while Litecoin was trading at around $40.
How To Invest In Litecoin
If you're looking to invest in Litecoin, it's important to remember that Litecoin is a currency. This means it doesn't act like a stock or bond. Instead of buying shares of Litecoin, you are swapping your currency for Litecoin currency.
For example, $1 USD is equal to about $43 in Litecoin today. The goal is for the value of Litecoin to rise, in which case, you could exchange your Litecoins back to dollars (from someone willing to do the exchange).
So, where can you do this? Sadly, you can't invest in Litecoin at your stock broker. Instead, you need a digital wallet. The best digital wallet we've found for US Citizens is Coinbase. Coinbase allows you to buy and sell Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin all in their app.
Since Coinbase is also a digital wallet, you can use your wallet to buy, sell, send, and receive Litecoin as well (for example, using Litecoin to pay for goods or services online).
By using THIS LINK you'll get $10 in bitcoins after you buy $100 in Bitcoins. You can then convert your Bitcoins and bonus into Litecoins if you wish.
If you don't like the idea of a digital wallet, there are no ETFs that track Litecoin yet. However, GBTC is an ETF that tracks Bitcoin, and you can get $5 for free when you invest at Stockpile and buy Bitcoin.
Like any currency, there is a high degree of risk involved if you're considering investing in Litecoin. However, given the low price point and ease of access via tools like Coinbase, it can be tempting to try a small amount and see what happens.
You never know, Litecoin could skyrocket as high as Bitcoin is today, and you might be thanking yourself in several years.
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.