Amid Blockchain Hype, Is There Still a Place for Litecoin?

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Once heralded as the "Silver to bitcoin's gold", the developers behind the long-running digital currency litecoin are seeking to reestablish the project's prior position as the world's second most popular cryptocurrency.

Breaking a long lull in project announcements, litecoin's core developers and the Litecoin Association, a Texas-based non-profit advocacy group for the technology, revealed a new roadmap earlier this summer.

Still, the roadmap release comes at a time that could viewed as a defining moment for litecoin, one that in many ways finds it grappling with changes in how digital currencies are being perceived amid heightened institutional interest.

Litecoin is one of only a handful of digital currency networks to reach a market cap of $225m, and it has historically held a number-two position ahead of many hundreds of competing alternatives.

In some ways, litecoin could be viewed as having a similar hold on its position as bitcoin.

"Litecoin is trying to do something different than ethereum," litecoin founder Charlie Lee told CoinDesk.

"For litecoin, the core developers along with the Litecoin Association, have always pushed for an alternate payment method to fiat as litecoin's main focus," he said.

Some enthusiasts believe bitcoin's long-simmering block size debate could reduce the currency's speed, making litecoin more useful.

Jim Harper, a fellow at the CATO institute and former member of the Bitcoin Foundation board, believes that bitcoin is perhaps too big to fail, and that any issues with the larger, more well-known network wouldn't benefit litecoin.

There is less of a competition between the two projects than a realization, at least in the litecoin community, that a rising tide could lift all boats.