There are few people, who determined the history of cryptocurrencies and can predict the evolution of the Blockchain and projects of next generation in Bitcoin space. Charlie Lee is one of them. He is a creator of Litecoin who’s being involved with cryptocurrencies since 2011. As such his knowledge in the field is extensive..
Born in the Ivory Coast and grown up in the US to parents from Shanghai Charlie was among the first Chinese people to go to Africa in the 1960s. After growing up in Africa, he went to the US for his studies, and after college, he found jobs working for Google.
Charlie Lee is the creator of Litecoin, the most popular alternative currency to Bitcoin. He is currently Director of Engineering at Coinbase. Prior to joining Coinbase, he spent 6 years at Google working on YouTube Mobile, Chrome OS, and the Google Play Games platform. Charlie earned a Bachelors and Masters degree in electrical engineering and computer science from M.I.T. He has a brother Bobby Lee, also well-known in bitcoin space.
Litecoin, one of the first AltCoins to be released, in October 7, 2011, and it isn’t very different from Bitcoin and it’s in effect a fork of it.
We interviewed Charlie Lee about Litecoin, other Altcoins and “next-gen” Blockchain related projects.
CT: Why have you created Litecoin? What is it aimed to do in respect to Bitcoin?
Charlie Lee: I saw that there was a need for an alternative to Bitcoin. The altcoins released at that time all were flawed. I thought I could do better and it was a good way to learn the Bitcoin codebase. Lastly, it was just fun to create your own coin. Litecoin is very similar to Bitcoin with only few differences: 4x quicker confirmations, 4x more coins, scrypt mining algorithm, more optimal fees to decrease spamdust transactions. In the end, I wanted to create something that complemented Bitcoin.
CT: You say that Litecoin is four times quicker than Bitcoin in confirmation time. That’s an important factor. I recently spoke with Gamecredits developers and they said that their coin block time is around 90 seconds, making transactions confirmations very quick as well. But then, why weren’t your solutions implemented in the Bitcoin core, if it’s so simple to achieve faster confirmations?
CL: Faster confirmations times definitely makes Litecoin more lightweight and easier to use. If you’ve ever sent Litecoins around, you will know what I mean. But it comes with a small tradeoff: there are more block orphans in Litecoin, which means that Litecoin miners waste more resources mining these orphaned blocks. Some argue that the tradeoff is not necessarily worth it. Even if everyone agrees that the tradeoff is worth it, it would take a hard fork to change Bitcoin’s confirmation time, and that risk is definitely not worth it.
CT: Litecoin seems struggling behind Bitcoin, not too differently from many other AltCoins. Do you think that Litecoin is achieving the objective? Is it on the right path, or did you expect more?
CL: Litecoin is following Bitcoin’s footsteps. It’s about two years behind. It’s definitely on the right path. Bitcoin is paving the way for consumer adoption for all of crypto-currency.
“I expect to soon see Litecoin move from a speculative currency to one that’s being used for real world transactions, similar to what’s happening with Bitcoin in the past few years.”
CT: Do you think that Litecoin will follow Bitcoin when it will enter mainstream?
CL: There’s no guarantee that Litecoin will be widely adopted after Bitcoin has entered the mainstream. But that’s definitely a requirement. I will do my best with helping Litecoin adoption once Bitcoin has “made it”.
CT: How do you see the future of AltCoins? How many of them will survive the following years, in your opinion?
CL: There will definitely be consolidation of Altcoins. Most won’t survive in the long run. By survive, I mean have a non-trivial amount of users. It’s next to impossible to have any coin really die, because all you need is one person to run a node to keep that blockchain alive. I do think after a few years, you will see Bitcoin and only a handful of AltCoins be in active use and the rest will not have any significant usage.
CT: In a recent interview published by CoinTelegraph, Andreas Antonopoulos, said that Bitcoin has already reached the “point of no return”, meaning that nothing can kill it already, no matter what governments and banks will try, it’s here to stay. Do you think he’s right, or maybe the future is not so sure yet? Can Bitcoin still be zapped?
CL: I think Andreas is exactly right. I’ve come to that conclusion for a while now. I’ve always thought that it’s not a matter of IF Bitcoin will succeed but WHEN it will. I’ve thought this way pretty much since the moment I first read the Satoshi whitepaper. You cannot shove the genie back into the bottle.
“Sure, entities like governments can slow the adoption of Bitcoin, but they cannot kill it. The concept of a decentralized currency is more powerful than any government bodies.”
CT: How do you see “heavyweight” projects like Ethereum and Maidsafe?
CL: I think projects like Ethereum have a lot of potential. There are a lot of smart people, like Vitalik Buterin, working on this. There are two potential issues with Ethereum: the initial distribution of Ether and the complexity of the protocol. That said, I do look forward to what Ethereum is able to accomplish.
In the previous days CoinTelegraph has also published an interview with Bobby about the future of Bitcoin and mining.
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