First Mover: Privacy Is Litecoin's Ace in the Hole as JPMorgan Touts Bitcoin

After lagging behind bitcoin for the past couple years, Litecoin founder Charlie Lee is looking to privacy features as his ace in the hole.

Oct 14, 2020 at 12:48 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:09 a.m. UTC

Litecoin (LTC), a nine-year-old cryptocurrency whose price returns have chronically underperformed the bigger and better-known bitcoin in recent years, is hitching its wagon to a new star: privacy.

The blockchain industry subsector of “privacy coins” – cryptocurrencies with embedded technology that shields identifying information from public view – is becoming one of this year’s hottest buys. One of the biggest privacy coins, zcash (ZEC), which offers “shielded transaction” capabilities, has nearly tripled so far in 2020, while monero (XMR), which uses a technique called “ring signatures” to obscure sender and receiver data, has doubled. 

Litecoin founder Charlie Lee told CoinDesk in an interview the project is now looking to adopt key privacy-enhancing features, which he sees as increasingly attractive to cryptocurrency users. The enhancements are already being tested, and an upgrade to the main network is scheduled for next year.  

If the effort succeeds, it might inject a jolt of enthusiasm into a project that has suffered from a lack of momentum in digital-asset markets. Litecoin is up 21% this year after a 38% gain in 2019, which pales in comparison to bitcoin’s 59% year-to-date gain and a 94% increase last year.  

“I want to make it so that users don’t have to worry about giving up their financial privacy by using litecoin,” Lee said. “Even if you’re not doing anything illegal, you don’t want people to know how much money you have or what your paycheck is.”

- Daniel Cawrey

Read More: In Effort to Differentiate, Litecoin Makes a Move to Privacy

Litecoin vs. bitcoin since start of 2019.

Bitcoin Watch

Bitcoin daily chart.

Bitcoin is hovering near $11,400 at press time, having snapped a six-day winning trend with a 1% drop on Tuesday. 

Notably, the cryptocurrency formed an "inside day" candle on Tuesday, aborting the immediate bullish technical outlook. Inside day candle occurs when the cryptocurrency trades well within the preceding day's high and low and indicates consolidation. 

As such, Tuesday's high of $11,567 is now the level to beat for the bulls. A break above that level would signal a continuation of the recent rally and open the doors for resistances above $12,000.

Alternatively, acceptance under Tuesday's low of $11,314 would imply a bearish reversal and could yield deeper declines. 

That said, the on-chain metrics favor a continued rally. The seven-day average of bitcoin's hashrate or measure of the processing power dedicated to the blockchain rose to a record high of 144.29 exa hashes per second (quintillion hashes per second) on Tuesday, surpassing the previous peak of 143.19 EH/s observed on Sept. 18, according to data source Glassnode.

It indicates high miner confidence in the cryptocurrency's price prospects. Miners largely operate on cash and liquidate their BTC holdings to fund operations. As such, they are likely to dedicate more resources to the computer-intensive mining process if they are bullish on price.

- Omkar Godbole

Token Watch

Bitcoin (BTC): Giant money manager Fidelity pitches bitcoin as "alternative investment."

Ether (ETH): Ethereum's network upgrade (Eth 2.0) is expected soon and could address scaling issues associated with its legacy platform.

What's Hot

JPMorgan calls Square's $50M bitcoin investment "strong vote of confidence" for the cryptocurrency (CoinDesk)

Bank of Russia seeks limit on amount of digital assets retail investors can buy (CoinDesk

Blockchain could give $1.7T boost to global economy by 2030, PwC report says (CoinDesk

New cVIX index tracks crypto market volatility (CoinDesk

The saga of Blue Kirby shows DeFiers are a trusting lot, until they're not (CoinDesk)

Coinbase chief compliance officer departs amid as CEO's "apolitical" stance proves political (CoinDesk)

Nasdaq-listed Marathon Patent teams with Beowulf Energy to co-locate bitcoin mining facility in Montana (CoinDesk

Lesson of third quarter is that crypto is "still a retail dominated industry," The TIE's Joshua Frank writes (eToro/The TIE)

BitMEX charges show that days are gone when innovators could "take a lackadaisical approach to regulatory and legal compliance" (Arca)

Coin Metrics analysis maps BitMEX execs Arthur Hayes, Ben Delo and Samuel Reed to their respective withdrawal keys (Coin Metrics):

Chart showing which founder keys were used to authorize BitMEX withdrawals. At least three keys must be used on any given day to authorize withdrawals. Founder Key A is presumed to belong to Reed held Founder Key A, since he was arrested on Oct. 1. Key B is presumed to belong to Delo and C to Hayes.


The latest on the economy and traditional finance

IMF's Tobias Adrian sees risk of "sharp adjustment in asset prices or periodic bouts of volatility" (IMF)

BlackRock's Larry Fink sees future with just 50% of workers in offices (Bloomberg)

Argentine president says government has no intention of devaluing country's currency (Bloomberg)

Chinese tech hub Shenzhen toys with digital yuan pilot program (SCMP)

Interest rate cuts in U.S. and elsewhere have China buying hitherto "unattractive" government bonds from Japan (CNBC)

Environmental, social and governance concerns could take toll on stock valuations, ValueAct's Jeffrey Ubben says (Reuters)

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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. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.


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