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Blockchain Programming: How Many Programming Languages Do You Need for Blockchain?

  • Eric Croix
    📚 WikiCoin

    Do you want to start a career as a blockchain developer? Or maybe you simply want to create your own ‘Joecoin’ just for fun? In any case, you need to know a programming language. Tune in to find out the best options available!


Blockchain Programming: How Many Programming Languages Do You Need for Blockchain?
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Contents

As humanity moves towards the digitization of everything, basic coding becomes a must even for the average person that is not keen on tech. That requirement is even more apparent when it comes to the blockchain sphere. If we really seek true decentralization, each of us should understand how things work at least on the elemental level. Whether you are an experienced software engineer, or an average Joe, the first thing you should do before learning how blockchain functions is to choose a programming language.

For a new, rumbling technology that is developing at a rushing pace, the task of picking a programming language can be daunting. There are plenty of them available and various startups and open source communities chose different languages to build their products, as their focus and sets of desired features vary. There is no standard and at this point in time; your choice would pretty much come to your personal criteria and the type of applications you crave to build.


In this article, we will review the most popular programming languages that are used in blockchain development to help you out with choosing the most appropriate option. Let’s not put it off any longer and go deep down the rabbit hole!

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The most popular programming languages in the blockchain

First and foremost, we need to understand which of the programming languages are used the most when it comes to writing code in the blockchain. You will probably see some familiar names on this list.

C++

C++ logo
Image from Google images

To begin reviewing the languages for blockchain programming, we need to take a look at their granddad – C++. This language was released in 1985 by Bjarne Stroustrup to make the original C more flexible. More than three decades later, it was used to build Bitcoin.

Unlike the original C, which is process-oriented, C++ is object-oriented. This approach makes C++ more time-efficient when it comes to writing code. The data along with the functions is stored in so-called objects that can be reused later on in other programs.

Due to its maturity, it’s not a surprise that in terms of the blockchain development, featurewise C++ is quite robust. This language has memory control that ensures speed by efficient CPU management, threading that allows running parallel/non-parallel tasks simultaneously, move semantics for copying data conveniently, compile-time polymorphism for better performance through dividing responsibilities, and code isolation for separating data structures. In addition, its user base consists of more than four million developers.

The one major drawback of C++ for blockchain developers is that it’s not smart contract ready. It doesn’t mean that one cannot code a smart contract on C++, it means that some modifications have to be implemented. This is the reason why blockchain-specific languages started to pop up.

Pros: independent and multiplatform, high-speed, similar to C

Cons: rather difficult to master, complex and sometimes hard to debug, no garbage collection

Best suited for: advanced users, understanding principles of Bitcoin

C#

C# logo
Image from Google images

C# is younger than C++, but it’s quite old too. Created at the end of the ‘90s within Microsoft, it quickly gained traction in the developer community. It’s an OOP (objective oriented programming) language that provides great features for enterprise-grade applications, cloud, and cross-platform development. Largely backed by Microsoft, this language is a convenient tool both for professionals and casual coders.

Not only is C# flexible and easy to comprehend if you are familiar with C++ or Java, but it’s also packed with features. In addition to some of the C++ functionality, C# offers .NET framework & its class library, the common language runtime, and development frameworks (such as WPF, XAML, and ASP.NET).

C# is favored by big players in the blockchain for a few reasons:

  • Its syntax is easy to comprehend for the large chunk of developers that are already familiar with C++ (4.4 million devs).

  • It’s open-source.

  • It allows writing portable code for mobile devices.

  • It’s affordable due to the BizSpark program.

Among the most prominent startups that base their code on C# are NEO and Stratis. In addition, C# has a dedicated Bitcoin framework (NBitcoin). Microsoft isn’t falling behind and introduces the vNext blockchain for its Azure platform.

Pros: object-oriented, strongly typed, dynamic code support

Cons: weak Linux support

Best suited for: building infrastructure blockchains, Windows users

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JavaScript

Javascript logo
Image from Google images

This is perhaps by far the most recognized programming language in the world. The webpages you scroll through everyday utilize javascript for fancy looks and advanced functionality. In 2007 Jeff Atwood coined a law:

“Any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript.“

JavaScript is an OOP language that is easy to learn while being quite versatile. Using JS, developers are able to code for clients & servers, IoT devices, and machine learning. One of JavaScript's major advantages in terms of the blockchain is the feature of running events asynchronously, meaning that it allows nodes to communicate freely and efficiently. Another strength of JS is that it doesn’t require compilation. At the same time, simplicity comes at a cost. Despite all of its features, JS is a far cry from C++, but it’s a great language for beginners.  

JavaScript wasn’t very popular among blockchain developers until the ICO outbreak in 2017. Currently, there are several startups with high ranks on CoinMarketCap that are based on this language, such as Lisk, Ark, and Nimiq. One of Ethereum’s most notable competitors, Tron, also supports JavaScript.

Pros: Object-oriented, prototype-based, supports functional programming

Cons: Dynamic, weakly typed

Best suited for: Entering blockchain space, building dApps

Python

Python logo
Image from Google images

Python was created in a minimalistic manner. That is why this language is extremely easy to learn and is a great entry point for beginners. It was created in 1991 and has served a plethora of purposes like application development, network servers’ development, IoT and others. It may be not as recognized as JS yet, but it certainly makes more buzz in the tech world.

Python is an OOP language. It’s a joy to code and it’s universal. To code a simple blockchain, you will need no more than 50 lines. Once the code is written, it can be run across multiple devices with a different OS installed. There is also a huge library of frameworks, such as Tensorflow and Django, albeit their documentation may be incomplete in some cases. To add to this, currently, there are specific libraries, dedicated to blockchain development. Like JavaScript, Python doesn’t require compilation, though it can be compiled like C# and C++. Combine it with a dedicated testing environment that comes with it and you will get a Swiss army knife for your blockchain journey.

Python has been recognized by the industry’s superstars. IBM Hyperledger implemented it in Sawtooth and Ethereum has created its own iteration of this language: Pyethereum.

Pros: Very easy to learn, premade libraries and frameworks, efficient

Cons: Mostly used as a server language, not so smart context

Best suited for: Building dApps for the beginners

Go

Golang logo
Image from Google images

Golang (or Go) is an open-source language derived from C. It’s a very young language that was launched in 2007 by devs from Google. Go implementation of the syntax is more Python-like – it’s made simple to provide efficiency and make projects made with it future-proof.

Go’s strong sides for blockchain programming include the availability of modular programming that makes the development process flexible, convenient testing tools, and a huge library of functions. It would be most appealing for cloud-computing developers, as distributed calculations are very simple in terms of this language. Although this language requires compilation, it’s a good factor for security, as all the errors will be shown to the person writing the code before it’s launched. In addition, parallel programming along with Goroutines increase the efficiency of the code and applications’ throughput. This is crucial for scalability, which is a pain point in the blockchain space today. Lastly, Go runs with the OS, not on top of it. This eliminates an extra step when creating EVMs, hence increasing the speed.

Go is a well-known language in the blockchain sphere. Consider IBM Hyperledger that is used Golang for coding smart contracts on its Fabric. Docker is not a blockchain startup, but it works with the distributed systems and is built with Go.

Pros: Memory security, garbage collection, strongly typed

Cons: Not so easy to learn, relatively small community, a small number of packages

Best suited for: Building cloud dApps

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Solidity

Solidity logo
Image from Google images

Solidity is young, like Golang. It was released in 2014 by Christian Reitwiessner and his team. It’s a language that was created in order to write smart contracts on Ethereum, which is why it’s most popular in the Ethereum ecosystem. It’s worth noting that the ecosystem has grown hundreds of times in the past two years because of the various startups flooding the market. As a result, Solidity has a large user base. Its standard (ERC20) has become the staple for the industry.

Solidity is OOP and a contact-oriented language. It’s also Turing complete, meaning that it can interpret various data-manipulation rules. The syntax of Solidity resembles that of JavaScript, but there are some similarities with C++ & Python as well. Despite its early stage, Solidity is a functional language, it provides inheritance, various libraries, etc. On the downside of the youngness is the issues with documentation that can leave some devs in a predicament.

Currently, the major use cases for Solidity are EVM and smart contracts. It’s not a lot, but those are extremely important and blockchain-specific as much as it could be. If you want to build a dApp, Solidity is your go-to choice.

Pros: Statically typed, easy to learn, trendy

Cons: Not universal, vulnerable

Best suited for: Development of the smart contracts

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Basics of coding on the blockchain

Now, that we have reviewed the most popular programming languages in the blockchain, it’s time to get out hands dirty with actual coding. Let’s see how the basic operations are performed in terms via different programming languages.

Before we begin, it’s a good thing to refine our knowledge about what a blockchain is. A blockchain is a distributed ledger with transactions input in a chain of blocks. A block is a placeholder for transaction records. Each new block has a pointer to the previous one in the form of a hash function. After the block is full, a hash is generated using all of its transactions and attached to it. There is also a timestamp server that prevents double spending and a consensus mechanism that allows nodes to agree on the correct version of the ledger.

Time to put theory into practice. The purpose of this is not to build a complete app, but to show what the process looks like.
 

  1. C++
    Every blockchain out there has a hard-coded initial block, called a genesis block. Let’s create one.

    C++ genesis block


    Now we can create another block. In order to do so, we’ll type getLatestBlock().

    C++ add blocks

     

As a result of this, we will see how the blockchain compares data in the block hashes to check if they correspond.

C++ consensus

The consensus mechanism is a simple ‘for’ loop function that runs over all the blocks, starting from 1, because there’s no need to revise the 0 genesis block.

  1. C#
    The data structure for a blockchain on C# is rather straightforward. It has Block & Blockchain classes. Here they are.

     C# blockC# blockchain

    If we visualize the structure, it looks like this:

C# blockchain structure

Here’s how we add new blocks:

C# add blocks

In order to make our blockchain reach consensus, e.g. validate it, we need only 2 lines of code along with an IsValid method that will check data in each of the blocks and compare hashes.

C# consensus

 

  1. JavaScript
    Now we are reaching territories of more accessible languages, this should be more fun if you don’t have any coding experience. In order to create a blockchain, we need a runtime environment, such as Node.js. Each of the additional blocks will have the following data: index, time of creation, misc (like sender & receiver addresses and the amount transferred), previous block’s hash, own hash. Once it’s done, it’s time to move over to hard-coding of the genesis block:

     JavaScript genesis block

    As we have gotten the genesis block, we shall now add blocks with new data via a nextBlock function. This function will automatically go through all 5 types of data and include them in each new block.

    JavaScript create block

     

To launch our blockchain, we only need to make sure that the process of adding blocks loops indefinitely.

JavaScript add blocks

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  1. Python
    This time we will start with understanding how a transaction in Python looks like. It’s a simple timestamped post with some data attached.

    Python transaction

     

These transactions will get into the blocks. Let’s introduce this class.

Python block

We will use SHA-256 which is utilized in Bitcoin to create hashes for validation of our blockchain’s integrity.

Python hash

Now we can add the blocks, but first, let’s introduce the Proof-of-Work algorithm that ensures that the data in the blockchain wasn’t corrupted.

Python PoW

After that’s done, we are clear to start the blockchain.

  1. Go
    We’ll start with defining our blocks’ properties. BPM is arbitrary data, like network transactions, addresses, etc.

    Golang block

    In order to create blocks, we need to hash data in them and chain by corresponding results. The code for hashing data within a block in Go looks like this:

    Golang hash

    Finally, we can start making new blocks, using the generateBlock function. Time to write the consensus, which is represented by isBlockValid function.

    Golang consensus

    As all things are set, we are ready to launch the block production process. Note that at this point the blockchain will need a server to run on, so there are some extra bits of code that reflect this.

    Golang launch

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  2. Solidity
    Building smart contracts differs from what we have just review, but it’s still simple. First, we need to create a contract and name it. This contract is for a person’s will. In case they die, the funds shall be automatically distributed to specific addresses.

    Solidity contract


    Here, we specify the owner’s Ethereum address (owner), the amount left for distribution (unit) and the conditional variable for the owner’s state (bool). The next step is to add modifiers that extend the conditional logic to provide a function with the owner’s state.

    Solidity modifiers


    As this is done, we can outline the addresses that will receive the heritage. Then we continue to specify the distribution of funds in case isDeceased = true. Please note that at this stage we can hide the function from the public by putting ‘private next to the ‘payout’ function. Voila, the code can now be deployed.

    Solidity conditional statements

     

Summary

To sum up, there is no ultimate blockchain-focused programming language. The blockchain itself is in its infancy and there are unexplored horizons and unstepped grounds. Like in many other spheres, the best possible way of getting around confidently is to become a full stack developer, which may be a tough task, considering how much knowledge you will need to have. Thankfully, many of the programming languages have similarities in syntax and structure to ease the transition.

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If you have to choose one language, you need to consider the context. Should you want to focus on building infrastructure projects, C++ and C# will fit you more. In case you are more fascinated by the development of the apps on top of the existing blockchains, JavaScript, Python and Go are good options to consider. If you just want to launch your own ERC20 token, Solidity will undoubtedly cover your needs.

You should also keep in mind that blockchains are language-agnostic. With new languages like Simplicity coming into play and the existing ones like SQL being integrated, the borders between them will be more and more blurred. Remember, a language is just a tool and you are free to utilize it for whatever purpose. Our best advice would be that if you are already familiar with some languages, keep mastering them – you will definitely be able to create blockchains with them. If you are just starting out, try to look for the easiest entry point – look more towards JavaScript and Solidity.

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Is Litecoin a Good Investment in 2019? Is It Safe to Invest in LTC?


Is Litecoin a Good Investment in 2019? Is It Safe to Invest in LTC?
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Contents

Each cryptocurrency has its own positive features and unique peculiarities that allow it to develop and grow steadily. Among all representatives of the market, Litecoin stands alone. The project successfully combines the fundamental factors by which it can claim continued growth in the capitalization rating.

The forecast for 2019 clearly indicates that its most important distinctive details will surely help it move forward, imposing serious competition to the rest of altcoins.


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Features and principles of functioning

Appeared in 2011, the project immediately attracted the attention of users. Its creator, Charlie Lee, has focused on protecting his own cryptocurrency from possible future problems. So, unlike its older brother Bitcoin, Litecoin was initially ready for scalability. LTC cryptocurrency is in permanent operation due to a large number of copies of the program, whose source code was published a week before the start of the plan. The client guarantees security, and its new version has SegWit support.

Litecoin is endowed with a whole list of features.

  • Chain of blocks. This allows you to process a much higher volume of transactions compared to its “big brother”, Bitcoin. It is achieved by increasing the frequency of generation of new blocks, which gives a chance to maintain a larger volume of ongoing operations without modification and, if necessary, change it in the future.

  • Wallet encryption. Encryption allows you to protect yourself from fraudsters. Thanks to this feature, you have to enter a password every time a cryptocurrency is spent. The user also has the ability to view the transactions and account balance. Encryption protects against various viruses that can steal a wallet password and coins.

  • Reward. At the moment, miners get 25 coins for each confirmed block. Following statistics, the number of coins is halved every 4 years.

  • Mining. The mining algorithm of Litecoin is similar to the algorithm of the most famous cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. The main difference lies in the intensive exploitation of RAM during the mining of LTC. Therefore, it is advisable to use ordinary computers with GPU instead of machines with a powerful specialized CPU, for which development becomes quite problematic. The maximum supply of coins is 84 million, and this is almost four times the corresponding number of Bitcoin.

It can also be noted that Litecoin is written in the C ++ programming language. Among the supported operating systems are Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, and many others.

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Relationship to Bitcoin

Despite the strikingly close relationship with Bitcoin, which must be taken into account when analyzing the feasibility of investing in Litecoin for 2019, it is worth noting that the distinctive features of cryptocurrency should be its main development. At the same time, the most important unique features are:

  • More organized, centralized money management

  • High transaction speed

  • Low commission for transactions

  • Ease of making transfers

Charlie Lee stressed that it is Litecoin who is obliged to take the place of the currency that the majority of users will use. At the same time, the existing simplicity, speed and availability of transactions should contribute to the achievement of this goal. In this case, the prospects for the growth of crypto-finance will impress even the most optimistic people.

Differences from Bitcoin

Although the Bitcoin code is at the heart of Litecoin, there are still differences, and in some cases significant. One can distinguish the main ones:

  • More efficient use of a computer’s central processor (CPU) than a video card (GPU), which is fundamentally different from the main cryptocurrency.

  • Due to the increased block generation rate, the transaction is rather short-term and takes no more than 150 seconds.

  • The opportunity of mining in wallet in the SOLO mode or a pool.

  • Mining complexity is recalculated much faster than of Bitcoin’s one.

  • The emission is four times the BTC emission and makes up 84 million coins.

Similarities with Bitcoin

On the other hand, there are also some similar features with the main cryptocurrency:

  • Mining is performed in the same way, albeit using different functions.

  • There is no external control due to the decentralized type of network.

  • Both cryptocurrencies have a limited supply of coins.

  • The anonymity of both wallet owners and miners. Complete freedom of disposal of funds on the wallet.

  • A transaction cannot be undone.

Thus, it can be said that differences from Bitcoin make Litecoin a distinctive digital currency capable of expressing itself in the future.

What about disadvantages?

However, negative factors also exist:

  • With the creation of ASIC-miners, it is more difficult for ordinary users to mine cryptocurrency, and power is concentrated in the hands of large companies.

  • The failure of the LitePay service dealt a serious blow to the popularity of the virtual coin. The developers planned to create a system that had different integration with Visa. Despite the active work and the investment of a large amount, the project was not able to start. In the company, no one could explain what the money was spent. The scandal undermined the credibility of the digital coin.

  • Interdictions at the level of state authorities. Many states cannot decide on the status of digital money. Laws are either not released or are in development process. Only a small number of countries have completely legalized cryptocurrencies.

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How to invest in Litecoin

The easiest answer is to do it through exchanges.

Most investors and traders purchase Litecoin for US dollars or BTC (Bitcoin). Since different trading platforms have different trading or purchasing power, be sure to check whether your exchange supports transactions in US dollars or BTC for LTC.

LTC logo
‘Litecoin with man using a tablet computer‘ Image by 123rf

As a rule, the best option is to use a large trading platform, such as Binance (where you can exchange BTC for LTC) or Coinbase (to use a credit or debit card in US dollars).

However, since the cryptocurrency market is a large and, moreover, unregulated industry, it should not be viewed as the same type of investment opportunity as shares of stocks, bonds, or other securities. In fact, traders and investors should consider lots of factors when investing (especially given the volatility of digital assets in recent months).

Ways to earn Litecoin

Besides investing, there also other options to get LTC:

  • Mining. Litecoin is still in its heyday, as was once Bitcoin. With the help of the computing power of a personal computer, it is still possible to actually generate new coins.

  • Cloud mining. The client rents the computing power that Litecoin uses to generate the coins. However, this is a controversial decision. After all, this practice means that landlords of personal computers get more profit than the mining of Litecoin itself.

  • Litecoin cranes. Cranes are advertising sites where a user must enter a captcha and receive a small amount. It is difficult to call it a serious earning as for the whole day you can get only a couple of dollars at best.

Comparing all options, we can say that active mining remains the main method of obtaining LTC.

Technical analysis features for 2019

Since the bottom of Litecoin marked by Charlie Lee has already been passed, you can pay attention to the prospects for further development of the project. As of April 17, 2019, the cryptocurrency chart looks the following way:

 Litecoin chart
Image by Tradingview

It is important to pay attention to the level of $80 – it can be considered as an important support zone, consolidating at which can open the way to growth. Given the damage caused by the protracted fall, it is crucial to clarify that before the beginning of the active growth phase Litecoin should (just like other representatives of the cryptocurrency market), go through the recovery stage. As a rule, it is expressed in a prolonged neutral-positive movement.

The first half of 2019, in the wake of the shocks experienced by market participants, may become a consolidation period. The transition to the bullish movement can be supported by plans of entering the industry of Bitcoin ETF, the opening of the Bakkt platform and a number of other events that can attract serious investment flows.

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Selling coins for the community’s benefit

Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, sold all his LTC to avoid accusations about the impact on the rate of the coin. This action was intended to make Litecoin an even more decentralized currency. And, despite the fact that after the sale of coins, the Litecoin exchange rate fell, in the long term, such a decision by the creator of cryptocurrency can bring him multiple benefits.

“For a currency to really be … a worldwide decentralized currency, you can’t have … a real leader who’s trying to control things, so to make it more decentralized, eventually I would step away,” said Charlie Lee.

Litecoin showed its record maximum at the moment in December 2017, when one coin cost $374. After its creator sold all of its assets, the price of the altcoin plummeted, and Lee was subjected to unflattering criticism from users. Many experts also called this move frankly unsuccessful. However, such an ambiguous act can really become the basis for creating the most decentralized digital currency.

In any case, this suggests that Litecoin has a strong developer, strategist, and leader who has a clear motivation and strategy for action. Charlie Lee is engaged in the development of his project, regardless of the value of the currency, and it definitely has a good effect on loyalty to its product from users.

Litecoin forecast for 2019: What analysts say

In the first six weeks of 2019, LTC’s rate went up to a new high, where it is currently trading at around $79.

From August 8, the miners' remuneration will fall from 25 to 12.5 LTC. The reduction in mining income will lead to a weakening of interest in mining of the cryptocurrency. In this situation, the fall in the supply of coins is expected to be approximately double.

According to analysts, the rate of LTC will rise approximately until the beginning of August, when the project will reduce the reward for the mining of coins. At the moment, the cryptocurrency is in 6th place in the rating of the largest digital assets – its rate exceeds $75 with a market capitalization slightly above $ 4.8 billion.

Tom Lee, CEO of Fundstrat Global, is confident that by the end of the year, the rate of the coin may grow by 640%.

Forbes logo
‘Forbes website homepage‘ Image by 123rf

Forbes analyst Billy Bambro said that the 6th largest market capitalization of Litecoin cryptocurrency (LTC) will be ahead of XRP by the end of the year and will take 3rd place.

Although cryptocurrency prices are still far from its previous highs, LTC has managed to double its rate since the beginning of 2019.

Bambro believes LTC pricing is a response to the active efforts of the Litecoin Foundation and developers to improve coin security and privacy, in addition to choosing several well-known partners.

The eToro analyst team, led by Mati Greenspan, conducted a serious study of Litecoin. According to its report, the current cost of LTC is significantly underestimated.

The experts note that Litecoin has good network scalability compared to Bitcoin, fast and low-cost transactions and ongoing technological improvements by the Charlie Lee team: atomic swap, Lightning Network, SegWit.

Thus, when making an analytical forecast for Litecoin for 2019, experts take into account all the factors that contribute and increase the popularity of a crypto asset in the future, and also expand its attractiveness in the eyes of investors and the public.

These include:

  • Litecoin functionality → recognition of real practical use

  • Litecoin's technical superiority → faster transaction speed, lower cost, and easy scalability using Segwit and Lightning Network technologies

  • Litecoin decentralization and representativeness → high user confidence and excellent online rating

Among the factors that led to the growth of Litecoin are Microsoft’s plans to create a platform for decentralized processing and storage of digital identification data based on blockchain technology. And Litecoin has become one of those ecosystems that the company considers potentially suitable as the basis of this large-scale project.

These and other advantages of the Litecoin network find a positive response in Litecoin’s forecasts for 2019, and analysts predict a permanent increase in the price of  the cryptocurrency in the May-July period.

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So, what is the decision?

Over the years, Litecoin consistently follows Bitcoin, keeping a little distance from it. The stability of the project is complemented by an important advantage – the coin appeared much earlier than other coins in the capitalization rating. The presence of history allows you to create a “safety cushion” in the form of trust, which is still rare on the cryptocurrency market. Accordingly, Litecoin may well be considered as a good option for investment.

All in all, Litecoin is worth investing in. The top management of the project is actively working on improvements that allow maintaining high positions of “digital silver” in the capitalization rating. In addition, it is likely that in the near future the bear market will completely end, passing the green light to the bulls. This makes investing in the cryptocurrency promising.

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