Litecoin, a cryptocurrency that has been anointed the “silver” to bitcoin’s “gold,” is having a spectacular year. So far, its price is up by more than 4,000 percent this year.
Slightly more than a month ago, Litecoin was trading at $55.08 and had a market cap of $3 billion. At 19:37 UTC on December 11, its price was $196.47, an increase of approximately 28% in the last 24 hours. And Litecoin’s market cap was $10.6 billion. (See also: Could Litecoin Be A Better Investment Than Bitcoin?)
Why Did Litecoin's Price Spike?
Analysts have focused on four possible reasons for Litecoin’s phenomenal rise in 2017.
The first one is related to bitcoin’s price. According to this theory, the swell of bitcoin’s rise has attracted investors to Litecoin interested in profiting off cryptocurrencies. There might be some truth to this theory since a majority of cryptocurrencies have mostly mimicked bitcoin’s price movements. With a couple of exceptions, Litecoin’s price has toed the line with bitcoin’s price. (See also: Will Bitcoin's Price Move Like Gold and Silver?)
The second possible reason for Litecoin’s rise this year could be increased interest from Asian investors. The cryptocurrency’s price exploded in June after Chinese and South Korean investors flooded the market. Bithumb, a South Korean exchange, still accounts for the second-highest Litecoin trading volume after Coinbase’s GDAX.
Even as Western economies clamp down on cryptocurrencies and their investors debate pros and cons, Asian investors have poured funds into them. The Asian connection could also help the cryptocurrency ramp up its transaction volumes, which have already spiked since June this year.
Litecoin’s capabilities also have come into sharp focus as bitcoin’s shortcomings are highlighted. (See also: Is Litecoin The Future Of Cryptocurrency?) The cryptocurrency has faster transaction speeds than bitcoin due to bigger block sizes. Litecoin also has more room to grow, given that only 64% of its total stash of 84 million coins are in circulation. In comparison, 76% of bitcoin’s total supply of 21 million coins are already in trading markets.
Finally, analysts have surmised that the run-up in Litecoin's price might be an investor move to hedge bitcoin investments. "Litecoin is more scalable by nature and with bitcoins mempool currently flooded with unconfirmed transactions, Litecoin is looking much better than BTC as a medium of exchange," said Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst for eToro.