Litecoin is a cryptocurrency founded in 2011, two years after Bitcoin, by a former Google engineer named Charlie Lee. As measured by market capitalization, Litecoin is the ninth largest cryptocurrency. Initially, it was a strong competitor to Bitcoin. However, as the cryptocurrency market has become more saturated with new offers in recent years, Litecoin's popularity has declined.
Litecoin is a global open source payment network, fully decentralized. Litecoin can be used as a means of paying people all over the world without an intermediary having to process the transaction.
Like other decentralized cryptocurrencies, Litecoin is not issued by the government, which has historically been the only entity that the public trusts to issue money. Litecoins are created through a complex network procedure called "mining", which processes a list of Litecoin transactions.
Unlike traditional currencies, Litecoin's supply is constant. There will never be more than 84 million Litecoins in circulation. Every 2.5 minutes, the Litecoin network generates a new block - an entry in the book of recent Litecoin transactions around the world.
The most important difference between Litecoin and Bitcoin is the different cryptographic algorithms they use. Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 algorithm while Litecoin uses a newer algorithm called scrypt.