Litecoin (LTC) is the second most popular peer-to-peer digital crypto currency released as an open source software project after Bitcoin has gained quite a lot of popularity. Similar to Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin generation and transfer is based on cryptographic proof-of-work scheme and is not managed by any central authority and is relaying on a P2P network consisting of the users that are mining the crypto currency. Litecoin is intended by its developers to improve upon Bitcoin, offering new improvements and relying on a different crypto algorithm that made it a popular alternative to Bitcoin. Litecoin was released in 2011 by Charles Lee, a former Google employee, who used the Bitcoin-Qt client as a basis, bud modified it in order for the Litecoin to have a decreased block generation time, increased maximum number of coins, different hashing algorithm, and a slightly modified GUI.
What made the Litecoin very popular and the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization at the moment is the fact that it was one of the earlier alternative crypto currencies that offered both differences and new things that set it apart from the competition. But the most important thing was the fact that it is a Scrypt based and not SHA-256, making it ASIC-proof or with other words not being able to mine LTCs with the already available Bitcoin ASIC miners. This brought back the GPUs as the primary mining solution for generating Litecoins, something that has been left in the past by Bitcoin, so you can say that Litecoin is following in the footsteps of Bitcoin. Another way to look at the to crypto currencies is if we compare the Bitcoin to Gold and the Litecoin as Silver.
Much like with Bitcoin, Litecoin also has a lot of alternative crypto currencies based around its basic code and concept, in fact LTC has much more alternatives that cannot be mined with Bitcoin ASIC. And the fact that Bitcoin ASIC miners are so powerful nowadays there is not much point in releasing SHA-256 based alternative crypt currency similar to Bitcoin, it is better to have it based around Litecoin and scrypt, though lately we are seeing announcements for upcoming Litecoin ASIC miners later that year already. Some of the more interesting and notable alternatives to Litecoin that are also Scrypt-based are: FeatherCoin, WorldCoin, DogeCoin, Lottocoin and many others appearing all the time, though a lot of these don’t get much attention from the users and die quickly.