Bitcoin’s long-term dominance hasn’t left it without competition. In the wake of its steady climb to all-time highs in the last quarter of 2017, bitcoin’s smaller peer, Litecoin, experienced a momentous burst from near $100 to $400 in just 5 days.
A simple explanation would be that an influx of new traders, inspired by bitcoin’s gains, were finally verified on the many exchanges that are now receiving record numbers of new members. Litecoin’s near unanimous availability across exchanges and solid value proposition made it an obvious target for this new money, though it had previously ridden in on bitcoin’s coattails. There are other reasons behind the recent Litecoin boom as well, and these undoubtedly include its fast transaction times and low fees.
Another potential reason is that Litecoin’s benefits have made it an excellent candidate for business adoption, and that many great companies are now incorporating Litecoin into their services. Games and eSports (electronic sports competition using video games) especially have given Litecoin their seal of approval, which is encouraging considering the big successes that cryptocurrency has had in this arena.
Litecoin Gains in Price and Adoption
Litecoin is much cheaper to use as a medium for transacting, which can essentially be applied to any service where there is an exchange of information. Its larger blocks on the blockchain keep transactions fast and free from the high fees that plague bitcoin’s network. As such, businesses have a large incentive to incorporate it into their services and platforms.
Its high accessibility also makes it an outlet for any cryptocurrency holders to pay via Litecoin, opening a new market for the services that win their business. One of the biggest and most important online videogame platforms, Steam, hopes to do just that.
Steam had adopted bitcoin previously, but experienced much customer strife related to the fees and slow transactions. When gamers buy a game, they want to begin playing it immediately, so waiting upwards of an hour for a new block is untenable.
Recently, the platform’s parent company, Valve, announced it would be replacing bitcoin with Litecoin. That such an influential company would put their weight behind Litecoin struck a chord with cryptocurrency enthusiasts, who likely bought the news in droves.
eSports Catalyze Cryptocurrency Momentum
Some of the momentum behind Litecoin is also due to the eSports industry’s other cryptocurrency success stories. The enthusiasm with which the community funds videogame blockchain projects is something to behold: some of the most successful ICOs to date have been for these ideas. The same social forces recognized the implications of Steam’s recent announcement and threw their support behind Litecoin accordingly.
The transactional nature of cryptocurrencies, along with the robust capabilities of blockchain, make it an ideal tool for driving innovation in videogames. Companies are using cryptocurrency in many interesting areas of eSports, like the virtual economies for in-game items.
DMarket is a poignant example one of these blockchain companies, and the team is working to build a global marketplace for the virtual items that exist in most online games. With DMarket’s API, developers can export the weapons, armor, and other valuable items from their game to the blockchain marketplace, and allow players to buy and sell, or exchange items for one another cross-game by utilizing the DMarket Token.
DreamTeam is using cryptocurrency and blockchain in a different manner: to unite the dispersed and varied world of eSports talent. With blockchain, stakeholders in the industry like players, coaches, sponsors, teams, and tournament organizers can finally band together and monetize their matches using the DreamTeam Token. Complicated deals for media rights, sales, sponsorships, player salaries (or transfers), performance bonuses, tournament prizes, crowdfunding, and more can all be handled easily and transparently. It could be the collaborative outlet the industry needs to monetize itself.
Litecoin holders can also look forward to the final product from companies like Game Protocol. Game Protocol is a platform for decentralized automated games (DAGs) that hosts players who want to play decentralized games and enables developers to build on the network. Game Protocol tokens will be used in the store to buy the games, and once the tokens hit exchanges, the gates will open to usher in a new generation of cryptocurrency gamers.
For NetworkUnits, the main problems that cryptocurrency can solve for gamers is network reliability and matchmaking fairness. NetworkUnits hosts multiplayer games, but instead of offering them through a big server in a distant location, it allows participants to use their own computers to support the game network. Players will experience lower latency due to the likelihood of being in closer proximity to a host, and hosts earn cryptocurrency for their hard work. Using the blockchain ledger also promotes fairness, because players who cheat or break the rules can be more easily identified and excluded.
These projects already making impressive use of blockchain are helping cryptocurrency and eSports to grow in tandem, and the welcoming of Litecoin into the fold is another feather in the industry’s hat.