Litecoin founder Charlie Lee took to Twitter to provide a counterargument and explanation for LTC’s instamine, a cryptocurrency that was launched eight years ago.
As litecoin approaches its next halving, during which time the block reward will be reduced by 50%, the near-decade old controversy surrounding the currency’s genesis has been resurfaced.
Detractors of LTC have been critical of Lee and his handling of the ‘instamine phase’ in the early days of the coin’s launch.
Instamining refers to a process in cryptocurrency where coins are initially distributed in an uneven or unfair manner. Typically, it involves the release of coins in a disproportionate amount to a handful of miners and investors. In the case of Litecoin, it has been determined that the currency underwent a similar phase in the days after launch.
According to Lee,
“[It’s] well known that Litecoin was fast mined in the first few days as the amount of people and hashrate was more than I thought there would be.”
Despite the instamine occurring eight years ago, Lee renewed the controversy after publishing, then deleting a tweet that seemed to take aim at rival cryptocurrency Dash.
In the tweet that has been since been scrubbed, Lee attempted to explain the instamine phase, in addition to pointing out how Dash may have committed a more egregious offense.
“It’s hard to estimate how much a hashrate jumped on it initially. But it was still fair with Litecoin as everyone had a fair chance to mine. What was unfair with Dash was that it was launched to friends only for the first few days. And then total supply reduced after the fact.
Charlie Lee's deleted tweet
Some community members are speculating that Lee withdrew the tweet after drawing attention to litecoin’s own contentious mining behavior. As outlined in a Reddit post addressing the issue, Litecoin clearly underwent an accelerated mining phase that produced 500,000 ltc in 24 hours.
Graph showing instamine phase in the early days of Litecoin.
Charlie Lee Responds
Lee defended his actions in a separate Redidt post, saying,
“If I knew what the hashrate would be at launch, I could have set the initial difficulty higher. But it was better to err on the low side to protect against 51% attacks around launch time, and that’s what I did.”
The community backlash against Lee’s original tweet and subsequent deletion has been intense.
500,000 Litecoin instamined on day one. Irrefutable and forever tainting your blockchain. Tried to hide it and when Dash inherited the bug YOU PROGRAMMED you had the audacity to pretend Dash did it on purpose after you COVERED IT UP FOR YEARS. Embarrassing and ridiculous.
— Macrochip (@Macr0chip) July 24, 2019
However, the majority of the sentiment appears to derive from Lee deflecting his situation towards Dash.
As the coin founder explained, litecoin’s launch in 2011 constituted the early days of crypto and he was still largely feeling out the process for getting his currency up and running. Few could have imagined at the time it would hold a market cap of over $5 billion by the end of the decade.