2018 has, in general, been a less than stellar year for cryptocurrency. The emerging asset class has, over the course of the last few months, experienced a dramatic drop in value, as well as considerable criticism from the higher tiers of the finance industry.
Some hope of a turnaround, however, has manifested in the litecoin market. Over the course of February 14 alone, the cryptocurrency – currently ranked fifth on the market – experienced a 40 percent upsurge in value. Measured more broadly, it has, over the course of the last two weeks, experienced a value growth totalling 93 percent.
Hard Fork and Solution
Much of this is generally speculated to be due to an upcoming hard fork scheduled to take place on February 18, when a new digital currency (most likely a scam) named Litecoin Cash will branch off from the main Litecoin blockchain. Investors will receive ten units of litecoin cash for every unit of litecoin they own – which, it is generally speculated, is likely what gave rise to this abrupt upturn in purchases.
However, a rather damning Tweet posted by Litecoin creator Charlie Lee made it clear that Litecoin Cash had no official connection to the original Litecoin. Lee asserted that the official Litecoin team had no plans to fork litecoin, and that any such forks, including litecoin cash, were “a scam trying to confuse you to think it’s related to Litecoin.”
Litecoin Cash’s creators, however, assert that their currency was not a scam, and that their intention was merely to offer improvements on Litecoin’s blockchain to its users – including, they claim, more secure and flexible mining algorithms.
It is also speculated, however, that another contributing factor is the upcoming release of Litepay. Similar in nature to Bitpay, Litepay is a litecoin payment processor that will allow users to more easily facilitate direct litecoin payments to businesses. Scheduled for release on February 26 , Litepay is likely another source of anticipation that has inspired an upsurge in litecoin investment.
News from South Korea
Some have argued that litecoin’s upward shift can additionally be traced back to the controversy stirred up by recent events in South Korea. Early in 2018, remarks made by South Korean Justice Minister Park Sang-ki gave rise to speculation that the South Korean government was planning to implement a ban on cryptocurrency trading – a notion which, given South Korea’s prominence in the international market, brought about considerable unrest among traders, both inside and outside the country.
However, on February 14, Minister Hong Nam-ki of the Office for Government Policy Coordination stated in a video posted to the presidential website that the government would not be banning cryptocurrency trading in South Korea, confirming that, rather, the emphasis would be on ensuring transparency within trading.
Though this was not the first such statement issued by the South Korean government, it was one of the most definitive, and allayed the fears of many cryptocurrency traders. Many argue that this was a significant contributing factor to the positive surge in litecoin, and of cryptocurrencies in general – and indeed, it does seem to have coincided with a small, but significant upward shift in cryptocurrency values, with bitcoin rising over eight percent since the announcement was made.