Is Litecoin a fork of Bitcoin?


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Introduction: The Ultra-Short Version of Litecoin's Genesis

Ok, we will be spoilers and give you all the one word answer - YES - Litecoin is a fork of Bitcoin. However, you are asked to keep reading this subsection of the Leo Finance Litecoin Coin Guide as the rest of the story surrounding the Litecoin 'birth' is indeed interesting.

The Long Version of the Birth of Litecoin

The mining of Bitcoin by 2011 was conducted primarily by utilizing GPUs raising the concerns by some that the barriers to mining entry were too high and that CPUs were becoming useless for mining purposes. So in 2011, Bitcoin code was utilized to create a new alternative cryptocurrency called Tenebrix (TBX).

Within this new currency creation, Tenebrix removed the Bitcoin SHA-256 mining round algorithms replacing it with the Scrypt algorithm [Scrypt having been designed in 2009 to be expensive to quickly implement into FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays) or ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) chip-sets [See, e.g. Chuen, D. Handbook of Digital Currency. (Accessed January 5, 2022); and, Tarsnap. The scrypt key derivation function. (Accessed January 5, 2022)]. As a result Tenebrix would be GPU resistant and the bitcoin miners available CPU resources would be needed.

Earlier in its existence the Tenebrix project replaced Bitcoin's issuance schedule with a constant block reward thereby permitting an unlimited currency supply. Likewise added by the developers was a code clause granting Tenebrix 7.7 million TBX to be claimed at zero cost. Needless to say this was not well received by users and highly critized.

Now enters Charlie Lee to address this situation. Lee created an alternative to Tenebrix which he called Fairbrix (FBX) [See, McMillen, R. Ex-Googler Gives the World a Better Bitcoin. (Accessed January 5, 2022)]. Lee then used the Scrypt algorithm from Fairbrix to create Litecoin, also returning Bitcoin's limited supply model to the Litecoin protocol (with several other changes).

Litcoin was released by Lee on October 7, 2011 (on GitHub) as an open source client, with the Litecoin network going live on October 13, 2011.

Some Final Thoughts

While considering technical details concerning Bitcoin and Litecoin demonstrate the two to be nearly identical, it must be remembered that Litecoin is NOT a carbon-copy of Bitcoin. In essence, Litecoin "... was a source code fork of the Bitcoin Core client, differing primarily by having a decreased block generation time (2.5 minutes), increased maximum number of coins, different hashing algorithm (scrypt, instead of SHA-256), and a slightly modified GUI." [DcoinTrade. LITECOIN. (Accessed January 5, 2022).

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