Charlie Lee, Creator of Litecoin, Goes to Wuhan on July 2 to Thank Miners and Mining Pools for Supporting Segwit on Litecoin
It’s been three weeks since Charlie Lee left Coinbase to focus on the Litecoin development. And the low key software engineer has been tweeting welcome news about Litecoin from its being listed on Coinbase and Bitstamp to its adding new technical features. (Note: Charlie didn’t mention anything about Amazon’s adding Litecoin. The Amazon news is from Reddit).
And on July 2, Charlie went to Wuhan to meet litecoiners and miners from all over China. The meetup is interpreted by the media to boost morale and sustain litecoin momentum. If anything, Charlie has successfully inspired litecoiners’ confidence as LTC price increased from 270 yuan to 320 yuan overnight. Will 2017 be the year of Chikun? In this series, Charlie shares his insights about Segwit, LN and ICOs.
Four years ago, when you joined Coinbase, you said that there were no companies supporting LTC. And people like your parents didn’t know how to buy it. So you think the timing was not good to focus on the Litecoin development. But now you left Coinbase, does this mean you believe it’s time for Litecoin to shine, especially considering Bitcoin is in its civil war?
The activation of Segwit is a turning point in the course of Litecoin development. When I first heard of Segwit last year, I took a three-month leave and focused on studying the technical upgrade. Later I chose to work part time at Coinbase, so I could work to make others realize the benefits of Segwit. It was no easy to convince of miners and mining pools supporting Segwit, but it was worth it. Litecoin price has been going up, Coinbase and Bitstamp are listing litecoin. I am confident that more merchants and companies will realize the real value of Litecoin. It’s time for Litecoin to shine.
I can see that you are very confident about the future of Litecoin. And certainly LTC has achieved a lot in the past 6 years. It’s market cap has reached over 2 billion USD, but sceptics say LTC is just the testbed of BTC and once SegWit is activated on BTC, there will be no room for LTC. What do you think of it?
I always believe it’s not a game of winner takes it all. Bitcoin is the almost-perfect coin to me. It’s like gold, a good store of value. It’s the most secure and most decentralized coin, but it wouldn’t be the coin for all as the fees are high. It’s both costly for the whole Bitcoin network to confirm a transaction of 1,000 BTC and a transaction of 1 BTC. That’s why I created Litecoin and defined it as Bitcoin’s silver. I want it to be widely used for small amount transactions in real life, like buying a cup of coffee. People like choices.
Bitcoin has yet to activate Segwit because of political reasons, not because it’s unnecessarily complicated as many have claimed. I hope Segwit can be added on BTC, so in the future, it could add lightening network. It would overshadow litecoin at the very beginning, but given time, it’s good for both BTC and LTC.
It seems to me that you are trying to make Bitcoin and Litecoin rise or fall as one. Even the LN is trying to “bind” BTC and LTC together. Why do you insist LN when off chain solutions are not welcomed by many?
Litecoin only takes 2.5 minutes to generate a block. It’s fast, but when it comes to payment in real life, that’s a big problem. Let’s say, when you are buying a cup of coffee, the merchant cannot wait for 2.5 minutes for you to pay. But if LN is built on top of Litecoin, it enables instant payment. LN is a must-be if Litecoin wants to be widely used in everyday life. Plus, if a merchant only accepts BTC and all you get is LTC, then through a LN exchange node, you can exchange your LTC into BTC and pay the merchant instantly.
I said this before, Bitcoin is a city full of residents, cars and everything, and Litecoin is a city next to it with well-developed infrastructure, but it is surprisingly empty. If Bitcoin can move on from the current scaling deadlock and build LN on top of it, together with LTC LN, they could solve the world’s transaction needs. It’s a win-win outcome.
Let’s suppose all technical features and upgrades are added on LTC by the end of 2017, and more stores accept ltc as a means of payment, more ltc ATMs are available in many cities. Will LTC be top 3 or even top 2 among all the cryptocurrencies by the end of this year?
Litecoin is always the top 2 to me. I know there are more than 900 cryptocurrencies, some are valuable like Monero and Decred, but many are sheer products of successful marketing. They are speculation, not valuable coins. I know the price of LTC has been kind of discouraging, but I don’t actually care about it. Given time, I expect more people will realize the real value of it and we will get want we want.
I know you don’t care the price, but believe me many litecoiners do and they complain that there is no media hype about Litecoin. You hear people talk about Bitcoin all the time, but that’s a whole different story when it comes to LTC. Since you said you are committed to Litecoin, does the word “committed” indicate that you would push yourself even harder and force yourself to go out and meet more people like investors?
I think I’ll mainly focus on the development part, Litecoin community member PZ has been working on the marketing stuff. He started a foundation in the Cayman Island focusing on the marketing with Litecoin miners and mining pools. He told me there are many volunteers in China who translate my tweets and post them on Weibo. Some help us make “LTC to the Moon” T-shirts and organize meetups. They have been very helpful. If possible, I will keep updating my Weibo account and learn more about Chinese litecoiners.
I’m sure the LTC community will be happy to hear you put it that way. My last question is that last week, you tweeted something about ICO, saying there is a huge bubble. Are you always so negative about it?
Actually I invested in Ethereum in 2014. I have known Vitalik for years and I think he is very talented. But later when the Ethereum network went through a hard fork, I sort of lost my faith in it. I just don’t think it’s right to do that, so I sold out all of my ETH.
As the evolution of crowd raising, ICOs could help startups to grow fast in the early stage. But it lacks investor protections and at least 50% of ICO projects are scams. I expect that the government will step in. And when the bubble pops, a large portion of investors will suffer huge losses, which is also bad for the image of ETH.
When talking with Charlie Lee, I feel that he is a simple technical guy who just want to focus on his brainchild and drive technical innovation. As the cryptocurrency world is growing exponentially, bitcoin and altcoins newbies tend to be blinded by the current hype pulled over their eyes. In the long run, however, when regulations are imposed, there will be no room for scams and people will make a brand new “most valuable coins list”.
PS: At the meeting, the Litecoin Foundation China received the biggest single donation of 500,000 USD.