Litecoin was launched in 2011. Like many cryptocurrencies, it uses a proof-of-work consensus mechanism, relying on mining for its security and coin minting process.
Litecoin mining is a highly complex and energy-consuming process that requires a lot of computer processing power. Unfortunately, this means that common CPUs do not offer enough processing power for Litecoin mining.
As a cryptocurrency, Litecoin is nearly identical to Bitcoin. However, it has a much higher unit cap. If you decide to start mining Litecoin, there are some things you should know first, such as: How many Litecoins are there? And, how do you mine them?
What Is Litecoin?
Litecoin is a cryptocurrency and blockchain that launched as open-source software in 2011. It was one of the first altcoins to be released and was one of Bitcoin’s biggest contenders for a while.
Although it has lost popularity over the years, Litecoin remains one of the most popular altcoins out there. As of January 2022, it ranked 20th among other cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, with a little over $ 7 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.
As with all other blockchains, Litecoin’s underlying structure is that of a distributed ledger connected through a peer-to-peer network. Like Bitcoin, Litecoin solves the double-spend problem by having transactions verified by the network’s nodes and then permanently recording them on the blockchain through a process known as “mining.”
What Is Mining?
In cryptocurrencies that rely on a proof-of-work consensus mechanism, mining is a metaphor for the process of verification and storage of transaction “blocks” on a blockchain carried out by its network’s nodes in the hopes of being rewarded with the blockchain’s crypto tokens. .
Since blockchains are distributed servers lacking a central authority, this task is undertaken by the network’s nodes, otherwise known as miners. To complete this task, nodes need to dedicate computer processing power to solve very complex computational mathematical problems.
After the task is completed, the node that solved the problem first is rewarded with newly minted “coins,” or whichever be the name of the unit of account the network uses for its crypto tokens. This reward works as an incentive for nodes to lend their computer processing power to the network.
How Many Litecoins Are There?
Just like Bitcoin, Litecoin has a hard cap on the number of Litecoin that can ever be in circulation. However, in contrast to Bitcoin’s 21-million-coin limit, Litecoin can issue 84 million coins, four times as many as Bitcoin.
How Much Litecoin Has Been Mined?
As of the beginning of 2022, there were close to 70 million Litecoin in circulation. This means that there is still a bit under 15 million Litecoin left waiting to be mined.
How to Mine Litecoin
As mentioned above, mining is the verification and record-keeping process undertaken by a blockchain’s network of nodes. As such, in order to start mining Litecoin, you first need to become a node.
All you need to do is download and install Litecoin Core, the software behind the Litecoin network, and follow its instructions. This will get your computer connected to the network and allow you to add your processing power (or hash power as it is usually called in the crypto world) to the Litecoin blockchain.
If, on the other hand, you are using a Scrypt ASIC mining machine (which it’s highly likely you’ll need), it probably comes with the necessary software pre-installed.
Litecoin Mining Requirements
Since Litecoin was released as an open, free-to-access network, anyone with access to computer processing power can join it. When Litecoin was first released, the idea was that everyone with a conventional CPU or GPU could join the network and start mining.
One of the main differences between Bitcoin and Litecoin is the latter’s employment of Scrypt for its hashing function instead of the one used by Bitcoin. This, Litecoin claimed, would limit miners’ dependence on ASIC mining machines. However, this has not been held up since; Scrypt ASIC mining machines were created in 2021. Nowadays, it would not be profitable to mine Litecoin on a conventional CPU, or GPU for that matter.
Should You Start Mining Litecoin?
Although Litecoin’s popularity has waned over the years, it remains a very popular altcoin today, ranking 20th amongst other cryptocurrencies by market cap.
It is true that Litecoin’s initial promise that it could be mined on conventional CPUs or GPUs did not hold up for long. Nevertheless, Litecoin mining is still profitable today if you use a Scrypt ASIC mining machine, and there are still over 14 million Litecoin left waiting to be mined.
If you’re planning to mine Bitcoin or Ethereum, or any other crypto, you can either do it solo or join a mining pool. But which is the better method?
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