Although 2017 was the year the mainstream media started talking about Bitcoin in earnest, it was also the year that smaller cryptocurrencies started to force their way into the spotlight. Better-known Bitcoin might have occupied the front page headlines, but little brother Ethereum has also been pushing its way to the top of the cryptocurrency pile. During 2017 the lesser-known blockchain currency gained value from $8 to around $1,300.
Now Ethereum is being pushed aside by another competitor who wants a slice of the market. Litecoin, a small yet stable cryptocurrency, is gaining prominence - and increasing in value. As interest in the coin grows, it is picking up recognition from the public and private sectors, and in 2018 it could be the digital currency to watch closely.
Litecoin joins Bitcoin, Ethereum as top cryptocurrencies
Litecoin is "one cryptocurrency at the top of its game", writes Lombardi Financial research analyst Palwasha Saaim. "In our dictionary, Litecoin has always been an elite coin, in the same league as Bitcoin." Public and private sector recognition of Litecoin certainly backs this opinion. Not once, but twice this month Litecoin has been mentioned in a public announcement alongside Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Firstly, the Arizona government is looking to allow residents to pay taxes through cryptocurrencies. The bill proposing this legal change refers to "Bitcoin, Litecoin or any other cryptocurrency recognized by the department", confirming that Litecoin is an approved cryptocurrency in the state of Arizona - and suggesting that it has taken the place of Ethereum as a leading coin type.
Secondly, Microsoft is working on system of verifiable identification for blockchain processes, using technology known as decentralised digital identities (DIDs). The tech giant notes that Litecoin, along with Bitcoin and Ethereum, provides "a solid foundation for rooting DIDs". Yet again, Litecoin gets a mention alongside its bigger brothers: and an endorsement of validity from one of the world's largest technology companies.
Litecoin in 2018: what to expect
These mentions of Litecoin alongside established cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin certainly adds legitimacy to the growing cryptocurrency. Compared to Bitcoin and Ethereum, the value of Litecoin remains very low, with a value range of between $80 and $400 during 2017. However, the scale of jumps in value is dramatic: Litecoin rose by 34% over just a few hours on February 14th, and if Bitcoin and Ethereum's meteoric rise is anything to go by, Litecoin could soon experience a value hike of its own - which may escalate it to the heights its nearest rivals currently occupy.
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