Speaking at an event hosted by the Museum of American Finance in New York on February 27, 2018, bitcoin billionaire Tyler Winklevoss along with his twin brother, Cameron, said that he supports the long-standing and popular argument in the industry that the leading cryptocurrency is a form of digital gold. Bitcoin and gold are both limited in nature, but bitcoin is better as it is more portable and secure.
He continued to say that Ethereum is the ‘oil’ to the protocol layer, on top of which developers can build applications. To continue this metaphor, he then described litecoin as the testnet of the Bitcoin network. Litecoin has also popularly been referred to as the silver to bitcoin’s gold in the past. It uses the same core principles as bitcoin and was created to be a more user-friendly version of the older currency.
Litecoin is also coincidentally the same digital currency whose returns far exceeded the returns of bitcoin in 2017. As reported by Forbes, while bitcoin had risen a whopping 1,731 percent in 2017, it is dwarfed in comparison to the 7,291 percent price rise seen by litecoin.
Litecoin Perceived as “Testnet” Rather than “Bitcoin’s Silver”
Litecoin, launched by Charlie Lee on October 7, 2011, is currently the fifth largest digital currency by market capitalization. Lee believed that litecoin could complement bitcoin as he had observed that bitcoin was perfect to handle large-scale transactions but was not user-friendly for the smaller users on the network. Thus, litecoin could provide a similar solution for the smaller and less expensive transactions. The major feature of litecoin was that its block time was reduced to be 25 percent of bitcoin, enabling faster transactions.
The Winklevoss twins, who are popularly known as bitcoin’s first billionaires, referred to Litecoin as the big test network where developers launch and test potential features before launching them on the Bitcoin blockchain. A testnet is a blockchain network designed specifically for testing purposes having its own coins as well but without any value. Such an environment enables developers to test and experiment any new feature without risking messing up on the main blockchain. The Rinkeby testnet, similarly, is the testnet for Ethereum developers who wish to build smart contracts on that network.
Winklevoss Twins on ICOs: “Real Value Lies in Ether”
As reported by a renowned blockchain news portal, on February 20, 2018, litecoin hit a high of $251.90 on Coinbase GDAX exchange as investors rushed to buy it in anticipation of receiving more cryptocurrency from the Litecoin Cash hard fork. Founder Charlie Lee has also asserted that litecoin will exceed bitcoin cash regarding market capitalization by the end of 2018.
The Winklevoss twins are the co-founders of Gemini, a digital cryptocurrency exchange that started in 2015, with operations in Canada and UK. Gemini currently supports trading of bitcoin and ether across its platform. When an audience member asked if the brothers would be willing to add bitcoin cash to the exchange, they neither confirmed nor denied it, but replied rather negatively. Speaking about ICOs, Tyler Winklevoss said, “ICOs are tokens on top of tokens,” calling them an effort to crowdfund equity and that the true value lies in ether itself.