The price of litecoin surged across major exchanges in anticipation of Huobi, one of the largest China-based digital currency exchanges, officially adding support for litecoin trading today.
The exchange added to the anticipation after announcing the news last week by adding a 'moon landing' countdown clock to its site:
As of press time, the price of litecoin on exchanges BTC-e and Bitfinex had hit a high of $20.25 and $20.33, respectively, before dropping to $19.35 and $19.39. These figures were up from opening prices of $17.49 and $17.50, according to data from BitcoinWisdom. Against bitcoin, the litecoin price also hit highs of 0.033 BTC earlier in the day before falling back to 0.030 BTC, still far higher than recent prices and yesterday's 0.028 BTC.
The news is particularly welcome for the litecoin community, as litecoin prices had remained down substantially from a peak of $48 observed last November, the time when many traders began to turn to litecoin as a long-term investment option that could one day pay bitcoin-sized dividends.
News spread quickly about litecoin's potential beginning in early November, and its market cap quickly passed the $100m and $200m milestones within days amid a swift boom in the currency's popularity.
However, litecoin has more recently seen a decline in value to the low teens following a string of bad bitcoin news.
Litecoin's long stagnation
The day's excitement was particular welcome for the community given that it has watched as litecoin, once the assumed frontrunner for the title of number two digital currency, has faced threats from ascendant competitors dogecoin and auroracoin, the latter which recently passed litecoin in market cap before retreating to fourth place.
Litecoin's decline in value also coincided with continued setbacks regarding its addition to Mt. Gox. Given the exchange's then top-tier status, this was long viewed as a potential benchmark for litecoin, though plans have been shelved indefinitely in the wake of the Japan-based exchange's bankruptcy.
Further, in recent months, critics of community began to question whether litecoin provided any new innovations to digital currency, even while supporters maintained that litecoin could persist simply as a reliable, lower-cost alternative to bitcoin.
Due in part to this long lull, launch expectations were high on the litecoin thread throughout the day, with one user even creating a dedicated countdown clock for interested litecoin fans and traders.
Litecoin has gained new movement in recent weeks as China-based exchanges have moved quickly to add the currency. Though Huobi was rumored to be working on adding litecoin since February, it was not the exchange that triggered the recent rise. Rather, it was BTC China that added the digital currency first on 4th March, introducing 0% commission on trading.
By 9 pm GMT, the price of litecoin on BTC-e and Bitfinex rose to $19.70 and $19.80, respectively, in anticipation.
Still, even with the additions, a portion of investors may simply be using the price increase to cut losses and break with the digital currency.
As such, the true test of whether it retains momentum will likely be seen in the coming days and weeks.
Image: BTC-e candlestick chart
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.