Despite many investor's laser-like focus on Bitcoin's breathtaking rally, one currency that's far outpacing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is Litecoin, up about 340% this year as of today with a market value of $8.3 billion. The digital coin has grown at far more than double the pace of Bitcoin in 2019, and is now the seventh-largest digital asset, according to data from Mosaic Research Ltd, according to a detailed story in Bloomberg as outlined below.

Bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency with a roughly $160 billion market value, and it's risen about 140% this year as of early afternoon trading. That's pretty impressive, but that gain pales next to Litecoin's surge.

Like Bitcoin, the key forces driving Litecoin’s rally include cryptocurrencies' wider acceptance by established companies such as Facebook Inc. (FB), Fidelity Investments and AT&T Inc. (T) , as well as Litecoin’s upcoming halving, or “halvening.” This event, in which the number of coins awarded to Litecoin miners is reduced by 50%, is slated to occur on August 6. The forces sparking the gains “are justifiable and real and factual,” David Tawil, president of crypto hedge fund ProChain Capital told Bloomberg.

'Halving' Drives Crypto Prices

While miners currently get 25 new Litecoins per block, they will receive 12.5 going forward. Due to simple supply demand dynamics, a decrease in supply should drive up the price of the cryptocurrency, just as the crypto revival boosts the demand side.

“Every time we’ve seen a halving event in Bitcoin or Litecoin, the price has risen astronomically,” Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at trading platform eToro, told Bloomberg. “So if that pattern continues, what we’ve seen so far is small potatoes in comparison,” he said. “This is quite normal for the crypto market.”

When the last Litcoin halvening took place four years ago, the price of the digital currency jumped roughly 60% in the three months leading up to it, per CoinMarketCap.com. Bitcoin has experienced similar rallies in the run-up to its halvenings, and is expected to undergo its next one next May. 

Looking Ahead

While Litecoin is surging, and many bulls expect the currency to blow past its record highs, many experts warn that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are still primarily used for speculation, and very little for commerce. Litecoin also is vulnerable to the same forces that have plagued Bitcoin, like its volatility and speculation, and the collapse of prices that took place in 2018. Litecoin “only thrives if Bitcoin is valuable,” said Aaron Brown, an investor who contributes to Bloomberg Opinion. He added, “It’s an established, convenient transaction currency well suited to a world in which Bitcoin is the store of value. I don’t think it has much value in a world in which Bitcoin prices are low.”