litecoin top performer
Alt coins,  Litecoin

Litecoin is the top performer among the top 50 cryptocurrencies. Why?

LTC has easily outperformed BTC over the past few days—and the sudden surge might be linked to the halving that happened last summer

In a rare turn of events, virtually all of the 50 top cryptocurrencies based on market cap have gained value over the past seven days—stablecoins aside.

But there’s one altcoin that’s performed better this week than all the others: Litecoin. Its price has appreciated by 35.2%, taking it above the all-important $100 mark.

LTC has also managed to consistently outrun BTC since the world’s largest cryptocurrency broke through the $20,000 threshold on Dec. 16. While Bitcoin has surged by an impressive 9.1% over the past 24 hours, it’s been no match for Litecoin at 12.4%.

Both cryptocurrencies are among those that are now supported by PayPal’s crypto service, and in the new year, consumers will be able to use them at tens of millions of merchants. But why has this bull run been so beneficial for Litecoin?

A shining Lite

At the time of writing, LTC’s highest point in recent hours stands at $109.23. To put that into context, prices this high haven’t been seen since the summer of 2019—yet they’re some way off the record of $375.29 that were seen on Dec. 19, 2017.

Given how BTC has already smashed records and is trading in uncharted territory, Litecoin enthusiasts will undoubtedly be hoping that the current bull run has much further to go. Prices could treble at this point and still be some way off the all-time high, leaving some traders hopeful that there’s plenty of profit yet to be seen.

Litecoin has been billed as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. Although both blockchains share a lot of code, there’s one big difference between these two cryptocurrencies: their total supply. While the maximum number of BTC that can ever exist has been stubbornly capped at 21 million, LTC has a lot more leeway with a coin limit of 84 million. Blocks are also generated every 2.5 minutes on Litecoin’s chain, compared with 10 minutes on Bitcoin.

In case you’re unfamiliar with LTC, it’s one of the oldest altcoins, invented by former Google and Coinbase engineer Charlie “@SatoshiLite” Lee in 2011 with a view to alleviating network congestion on Bitcoin, enhancing speeds, and ensuring that transactions were cheaper. Theoretically, this would make LTC more effective as a payment method.

The crypto world has long believed that halvings—where block rewards for miners are reduced by 50%, typically every four years—have a dramatic effect on the value of a digital asset. Generally, the perceived wisdom is that the benefits of halving events can take about 12 to 18 months to kick in. Litecoin’s last halving took place in August 2019, and fast forward 16 months, the cryptocurrency is beginning to notch up serious gains. Could this serve as an important harbinger for Bitcoin in the latter half of 2021?

Litecoin’s market-leading performance will have undoubtedly piqued the interest of many crypto investors, and it’s possible that we could see more money pile into this digital asset—especially if Bitcoin’s rally starts to run out of steam.

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Connor Sephton is a journalist with an interest in cryptocurrencies, personal finance, and financial inclusion—as well as the challenges the crypto industry faces in achieving mainstream adoption. He owns cryptocurrencies.