Ever since I started investing in the crypto space, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Litecoin. It started as a sort of hunch, much like you might get for a favourite number in roulette or a horse name that strikes you when searching for a Grand National bet, but once I started looking it in great detail, I found it was one I really liked. Alot.
You see, Bitcoin is great, but even early on it was pretty obvious to me that it was no good for small, everyday purchases – and let’s not forget I was actually speaking from proper, first hand experience. Before selling the last of three internet cafes and games zones that I owned, I had offered Bitcoin as a means of payment. It was only ever used a handful of times via Bitpay, but it was expensive and awkward to use and, to be honest, the people who used it were doing so because it was a new and exciting thing, not because it was more convenient. In the boom of December 2017, Bitcoin transaction fees went crazy so Bitpay temporarily increased our minimum payment threshold to $100 from $1 which means that even paying for coffee and cake via Bitcoin was out of the question. (Ironically, Bitpay had also imposed a $100 a day maximum transaction limit at the same time which meant that we could only one do one transaction a day for EXACTLY $100 which was obviously pretty useless for, well, anyone really)
As I have discussed before in one of my very early articles, I just can’t see it being a day to day currency even with the Lightning Network running at full speed, assuming that ever happens. But I can see it being used to buy a house or a car, y’know the sort of thing you might buy from a savings account. I believe the confidence will exist – and in fact does already exist – in certain quarters for this to happen. For example, you may be interested to know that I sold the cafe mentioned above for a mix of both fiat and cryptocurrency. To me, it felt like a totally natural transaction and I know for a fact I am not the only one.
So if Bitcoin is our ‘big money’ transactor, who would be ideally suited for those quick everyday transactions? Let’s take a look at today’s top fifteen on Coinmarketcap.com:
I am not forgetting, of course, that there are literally thousands of other coins and tokens, but my personal belief is that the vast majority of these will simply disappear over time for a number of reasons, but most likely because they simply won’t be needed. Think about it this way, if we have one, two or maybe even a couple more, of globally accepted currencies, we’re not likely to need many niche coins going forward. I’m basing my vision of the future of this tech on this assumption, so if you’re not in agreement with that – as you are absolutely entitled to be – then the rest of this argument will seem invalid.
On our list of the top fifteen it is, of course, technically possible for any of them to be used and accepted as payment forms, but in many cases this is incidental to their original purpose. Let’s put them to one side, just for the moment. That takes out Ethereum, Ripple, EOS, Stellar, Cardano, IOTA, Tether (which is a separate case anyway), Tron, Neo, and Ethereum Classic. Now, it’s possible that one of these tokens/coins could become accepted as a day to day currency, but my sense is that since they were not designed first and foremost for that purpose they won’t be. That’s assumption number two which is offered with the same caveats as previously.
That leaves Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Monero and Dash. I’ve already made my feelings about Bitcoin Cash pretty clear and been flamed by staunch supporters who are every bit as fanatical about it and I am about other coins, so I can’t blame them, but my feeling is that the support and community for BCH is just not going to be strong enough in the end.
I really rate Monero and can definitely see it having a place going forward. It’s not the only privacy coin, but it is, in my view, the best there is for now and there will always be a need for secret payments as long as we people are, well, people. And that’s not changing anytime soon. That said, I’d rank it as a number three on the list, perhaps not used day to day, but people will be likely to have some they wish to use for reasons they don’t even want to divulge.
I have nothing against Dash and in fact it’s a perfectly good coin with great features and anonymity pretty close to Monero’s, but, again, purely from an analytical point of view, the latter’s community seems set to win out the way things are at the moment. I accept this one is a close call, but for now that the fact that I am heavily invested in Monero but have no Dash at all tells you where my beliefs lie.
So that leaves the namesake of this article – Litecoin.
When you look at it in this context, ie that of application and breaking down the competition, it seems the best positioned coin overall. It’s faster and cheaper, it’s finite with a total number of coins our human brains can work out and accept, it’s well established and there’s something quietly confident and unassuming about it. On it’s own that’s not enough, but add into the mix the passion and focus of Charlie Lee, it’s creator and figurehead, and the odds start to align in your favour.
Charlie has always been about adoption. For him, the price is either irrelevant or is as a result of the work he and the community do about getting cryptos in general and Litecoin in specific into day to day use. In other words, let the ‘real world’ market decide what that value should be. He controversially sold all of his Litecoin in 2017 so that he couldn’t be accused to doing it for his own self interest (although he was then accused of not believing in the project so he was never going to win anyway) and has worked only on partnerships and adoption ever since. Of course, the coin is not ‘his’, but the community reflects this drive and all efforts have been about securing world wide adoption. Not always successfully, of course, the less said about Litepay, the better.
The point is, that there does not seem to be any other major player in pure payment terms that is working on this as hard as this coin’s community. They haven’t cracked it by any means, no one has to date with the level of resistance from banks, regulatory and tax issues and general low awareness in the population, so this will take time, although I suspect things will move very quickly once they do start to move. But I’m heavily invested in Litecoin both from a speculative point of view and from the point of view of day to day use in the future. I can’t wait to have a simple contactless LTC transaction at my local coffee shop and I think it can happen.
Of course there are all sorts of caveats, conditions and counter arguments. It occurred to me, for example, that if we’re assuming platform based tokens such as Ethereum, Neo, EOS etc are going to survive and stay around with vast communities in the future, why would we not simply adapt these tokens to use as acceptable payment methods, even though that wasn’t – technically – their primary purpose? Why not Ripple? Using the same argument of having just a few coins survive, surely that scenario makes more sense if you think about it. Who needs Bitcoin then? or Litecoin?
The point is that there are too many unknowns to be sure. In fact, we don’t even know what the unknowns are as yet. But we can be reasonably certain that cryptocurrencies are not going anywhere and it’s probably too late to stop them now. The more appropriate question is, who will survive? For me, at this time, the answer is quite simple:
Bitcoin – for speculative (short term), saving and large purchases (long term)
Litecoin – day to day purchases anywhere in the world
Monero – any sized purchases that need to remain completely anonymous
Of course, this is just my view based on my own research – you should do your own. I’m always opened minded to different viewpoints and contradictory views, so by all means drop me a line or leave a comment with your own conclusions.
But for now, these are the ones I’ll be keeping a close eye on, continually investing in, and, in some cases I hope, buying a coffee with.