We cannot talk about top cryptocurrency personalities without mentioning Charlie Lee, the man who created Litecoin. If you are not already aware, Litecoin was created in 2011. This is how you know he was around in the very early days. Also, he does qualify as a crypto expert, even though he only calls himself a cryptocurrency enthusiast.
Charlie graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Computer Science degree in 1999. By the end of 2000, he had added a Computer science master’s certificate from the same university.
He then worked as a software engineer at Kana Communications, Guidewire software, and Google. At Google, he was involved with work on the Chrome operating system, Google play games platform and Youtube mobile. In 2011, while working at Google, Charlie created Litecoin. He moved from Google to become one of Coinbase’s first employees in 2013. At Coinbase, he spent four years working as an engineering manager and director of engineering before leaving in 2017 to fully concentrate on Litecoin.
2011 was the same year Charlie found out and learned about Bitcoin. Months after learning about the technology, dabbling in mining and buying some Bitcoin, he put his software engineering skills to test and created Litecoin.
To create Litecoin, some changes or improvements were made to the Bitcoin source code. The main difference is the algorithms used by the two cryptocurrencies. Charlie Lee designed Litecoin to use Scrypt instead of Bitcoin’s SHA- 256. The cap on the total number of Bitcoins that would ever exist is 21 million. For Litecoin, this number is 84 million. The 10 minute average block time for Bitcoin was also reduced to 2.5 minutes on Litecoin.
Fast forward a couple of years later and Litecoin is being called a testbed for Bitcoin. Segregated Witness (Segwit) which was proposed for the Bitcoin network was first implemented on Litecoin. The cryptocurrency is now one of the top altcoins with a good development team.
Most altcoins are bashed by Bitcoin maximalists for being Bitcoin clones and even scams. Litecoin is mostly left out when these criticisms are made. We can attribute that to the fact that Charlie Lee successfully presented Litecoin as a complement to Bitcoin and not a competitor. The idea was that Bitcoin would be used as a store of value and larger payments while Litecoin takes care of smaller payments or transactions. This made a lot of sense in the second half of 2017 when Bitcoin fees were high. Litecoin fees remained very low at the time and its network was as fast as usual. Now, with increased adoption of Segwit on Bitcoin and the introduction of the Lightning network, it would be interesting to see how this narrative continues to work. Charlie, however, believes Litecoin would still be useful because Bitcoin with Lightning would still not be able to handle everybody’s transactions.
Damned If He Does, Damned If He Doesn’t
Litecoin is a solid project but also benefits from Charlie Lee’s “good guy” image in the cryptocurrency space. Many holders of Litecoin, understandably, want Litecoin to do well. It helps if the creator of their cryptocurrency helps in promoting it as often as possible.
In recent times, some members of the Litecoin community have complained about Charlie talking more about Bitcoin on social media than Litecoin. Even more recently, he was criticized for making positive comments about Nano, another payment-focused cryptocurrency.
Conversely, he has received criticism for talking up the price of Litecoin too. As the creator of the coin, he was expected to be holding a large number of coins. Promoting the cryptocurrency, therefore, seemed self-serving.
Some people are of the view that it is not great for cryptocurrencies to have figureheads. The reasoning here is that such a leader can be coerced by other forces to do various things that might not augur well for the community behind the currency.
Selling All His Litecoin Holdings
On 20th December 2017, he took to Reddit and announced that he had sold all his Litecoin leaving just a few “physical Litecoins”. He added that he had donated the proceeds as well.
“whenever I tweet about Litecoin price or even just good or bads news, I get accused of doing it for personal benefit”
Selling all his Litecoin was a way to remove any doubt about the motives behind his tweets about Litecoin. Charlie continued to oversee development on Litecoin but as usual, there were mixed reactions to his decision.
What He Has Been Up To Lately
Three days ago, it was announced that Charlie had joined Vancouver based DMG Blockchain Solutions as an advisory board member. The firm is set to add Litecoin mining to their many blockchain and cryptocurrency related operations. They are also looking to implement the Lightning protocol.
He is also reported to be making moves with Tokenpay to come out with cryptocurrency supporting debit cards as well as roll out a new service in Germany.
All that aside, he is expected to continue to help Litecoin continue to grow and stay a top cryptocurrency.