On Oct. 13th, 2011, the Litecoin network went live. Its creator, a Google engineer named Charlie Lee, was looking to put a new spin on cryptocurrency. Litecoin was mined 400 times faster than bitcoin, making it more practical to use for urgent transactions, and it used the Scrypt hashing algorithm to discourage customized mining hardware. The goal behind these decisions was simple. If bitcoin was to become the digital world’s gold, then Litecoin would aim to become the cryptocurrency version of silver. Even though countless rivals to Lee’s “silver” vision have appeared over the years, LTC remains a major player in the cryptocurrency world, with a current market cap of $5.8 billion.
But what could you actually buy with Litecoin? In this post, we’re taking a year-by-year look at what you could buy with a single LTC.
1. Oct. 13, 2011: 1 LTC = One or more sequins (bulk price) – Litecoin’s early price history is surprisingly difficult to establish with any certainty. It’s easy to forget that bitcoin itself was almost unknown outside of cypherpunk and techno-libertarian circles in 2011, and the first major bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, had only been operating for a little over a year when Litecoin was launched. As an experimental spinoff of bitcoin, there wasn’t a lot of effort put into documenting Litecoin’s early price movement. If we assume that LTC’s value at launch was at least the same as BTC’s earliest real-world value — around $0.003 — it would surely be enough to purchase one sequin from a $1.49 bulk bag of 500.
2. 2012: 1 LTC = Novelty spider ring (bulk price) – While there is little hard data available for Litecoin’s historical price trends in its first two years, LTC does appear to have reached parity with the U.S. cent sometime during 2012. By the time verifiable price data becomes available in 2013, LTC was already trading in the $0.04 range. That’s just enough to afford a single black plastic spider ring, the perfect budget-friendly Halloween party favor, when ordered at bulk price.
3. 2013: 1 LTC = Wendy’s Classic Frosty (medium) – It’s almost impossible to comprehend what a game-changing year 2013 was for early cryptocurrency investors. By mid-October of that year, BTC was trading for $130 (and just over a month away from its then all-time-high of $1,149). LTC saw a similar price spike, perhaps being dragged upwards thanks to BTC’s momentum. On its two-year anniversary, LTC was selling for $1.98 (it would eventually hit a high of $53 by mid-November). That’s just enough to afford a medium Wendy’s Frosty.
4. 2014: 1 LTC = Wendy’s Classic Frosty (medium) & Small Fries – The entire cryptocurrency market was thrown into chaos in 2014, largely due to the catastrophic failure of Mt. Gox and the ongoing crackdowns on cryptocurrency trading in China. By LTC’s third birthday, its trading price of $3.84 must have seemed dismal, even though it was nearly double what it had been at the same time the previous year. By cashing in one LTC in mid-October 2014, you could experience a Wendy’s Frosty the proper way.
5. 2015: 1 LTC = Bag of Snack Size Kit Kat Bars – LTC’s price had been stagnant for nearly a year, and there was little hope that a major change was on the way any time soon. It was a glum time for cryptocurrency investors, to say the least. What better way to brighten your mood than by cashing in one of those dusty old LTC tokens ($3.17) and buying yourself a 2-for-$6 bag of Halloween candy?
6. 2016: 1 LTC = LEGO Minifigure (Random) – Litecoin’s relatively low price point tends to obscure the token’s overall momentum. By mid-October of 2016, LTC’s was now worth $3.91, having risen by nearly 25% over the previous year. That’s a number most stocks would seriously envy, but in crypto terms it was barely limping forward. Perhaps a better speculative investment would be in the LEGO minifig market, where one could buy a random figurine in a mystery bag for about the price of one LTC.
7. 2017: 1 LTC = NES Classic – There’s a term in cryptocurrency trading known as the “Coinbase Effect.” This term was specifically coined to explain LTC’s incredible increase in value when it was added to Coinbase in May of 2017. Before the Coinbase rumors surfaced, LTC was trading around $4. By May 4th, the day after Coinbase enabled trading, LTC was worth $22.19. By Litecoin’s sixth anniversary in mid-October, it was worth around $60, just enough to buy an NES Classic game console for the MSRP of $59.99.
8. 2018: 1 LTC = Portable Fog Machine & Halloween Decorations – The cryptocurrency price hangover of 2018 proved to be particularly harsh for LTC. Having reached a staggering high of $359 in late 2017, by mid-October 2018 it was trading around $54. That said, one could still set up a decent Halloween party by cashing in a single LTC, picking up a 1.5 gallon fog machine for just $29 and spending the rest on fake cobwebs and other spooky decorations.
9. 2019: 1 LTC = Samsung Galaxy J2 – As of this writing, Litecoin’s “halving” event is just weeks away, dropping the reward for mining a block from 25 LTC to 12.5 LTC. Not surprisingly, the price has been highly erratic, ranging from $142 to $78 in the last month. Where the price will be on Litecoin’s 8th anniversary is anyone’s guess, but it’s likely to be at least $100 per LTC, which is just enough to buy a middle-of-the-road smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy J2. That’s not bad for something that was barely worth a sequin less than a decade before.