Litecoin (LTC) Transaction Fees To Fall 10x In Anticipation of Bear Market End, Full Blocks

Colin Muller

Litecoin fees will fall by up to ten times, as part of changes in the upcoming version 0.17 of Litecoin, according to a post on the official Litecoin Medium. In the future, the average network fee will be Ł0.0001 per KB, as opposed to the current average of Ł0.001 per KB - $0.005 versus $0.05 at current prices, respectively.

The post detailed a current mismatch in the Litecoin ecosystem which has drawn attention to the issue of transaction fees, namely that fees remain relatively high even as demand for blockspace for transactions is low.

Fees are calculated per KB of memory usage in the blocks, and the post explained:

[c]urrently because the blocks aren’t full there is no need to pay higher fees, which is one reason why the move is being taken

Transaction sizes are based on the amount of transaction data they contain, rather than the amount of value being transferred. Some transaction sizes are less than one KB.

Adrian Gallagher, current lead Litecoin developer and the first hire of the Litecoin Foundation, said  that the future intentions of Litecoin were to “lay down the foundation for a fee rate which we can grow into proactively rather [than] re-actively [sic]”. His remarks come in anticipation of the end of the current cryptoasset bear market, which he predicts will end in three to six months.

The post also touched on the idea of a fee market, which applies to many other cryptocurrencies as well as Litecoin. In the future, when block rewards begin to diminish, it will become necessary to incentivize mining in a different way, namely with transaction fees to transfer already-existing cryptocurrency, rather than creating or “minting” new currency.

Déjà Vu

The strange thing is, this issue is not new, nor in fact is this announcement.

The exact same “news” was announced by Litecoin creator Charlie Lee way back on January 17 - when litecoin’s daily price closed at $187. Lee, also back in January, discussed the incorporation of a fee market into the Litecoin code.

On January 6, Lee outlined intentions of hard-coding in a fee market, proposing that fee rates be stored in Litecoin block headers. If this were the case,, "[m]iners [would be able to] choose to not mine low fee transactions to signal to the market to increase the fees. This should help create a fee market" Adding "I'm convinced this will work". This sounds a lot like Gallagher’s proactive-not-reactive aims.

Whatever the case, it would seem that this Litecoin upgrade has been in the works for some time.

Charlie Lee famously sold all of his Litecoin and later regretted it - although he added that “[he] didn’t actually have that many Litecoins” to begin with.

Litecoin’s Mining Difficulty Is Down 28% Since Its Block Halving

Michael LaVere
  • Litecoin's mining difficulty has dropped 28 percent since the halving in Aug. 5
  • Miner profitability has taken a hit following the cut in block reward. 

Recent network data shows that mining hashrate on Litecoin’s network dropped 28% since the block reward halving occurred on Aug. 5, as miners forego the decreased profitability from obtaining LTC.

Litecoin Difficulty Declining

Data form mining pool BTC.com shows that Litecoin's mining difficulty was of 15.93 million on Aug. 4, one day before the halving, and has gradually fallen to 11.40 million as of Aug. 22. The hashing power for Litecoin’s network has dropped 28%.

Hash rate and mining difficulty give an indication of the amount of computing resources being contributed to a cryptocurrency’s network, which includes securing transactions on the blockchain. It also provides a snapshot of the competition involved for miners hoping to obtain a block reward.

However, following the Aug. 5 halving, Litecoin miners only receive 12.5 LTC, compared to the 25 LTC block reward they were previously receiving. In addition, the price of Litecoin has been on the decline since the beginning of August, slipping from $93 at the halving to its current price of $74.

Most analysts predicted there would be market turmoil for the cryptocurrency in the aftermath of the halving. While the cryptocurrency has a reduced supply in the form of regular block rewards, the uncertainty surrounding mining and profitability has caused the price to take a hit.

Charlie Lee, Litecoin's founder, said in the build-up to the halving that it would be a shock for miners,

When the mining rewards get cut in half, some miners will not be profitable and they will shut off their machine.

However, Lee predicted that the readjustment in mining difficulty would largely smooth things out for the cryptocurrency.