Charlie Lee Addresses Criticisms Regarding Litecoin (LTC) Development

Siamak Masnavi

On Sunday (August 11), Litecoin (LTC) creator Charlie Lee described the Litecoin development process, and explained why this might make it seem as though the Litecoin Foundation only cared about increasing awareness and adoption of Litecoin and not the development of the Litecoin protocol.

Three days before the Litecoin halving event occurred, Bloomberg published an article with the following title "Hype Over Litecoin’s Halving Leaves Owners Holding the Bag". 

Essentially what this article was saying was that although the hype around this event (which reduced the block mining reward from 25 LTC to 12.5 LTC) had resulted in the LTC price more than quadrupling in 2019, recently, investors had "turned sour on the fourth-largest digital token." 

One reason Bloomberg gave for some of the recent negativism around Litecoin was that "developer activity", as measured by contributions to the Litecoin source code, had gone down to "its lowest level since 2014."

David Tawil, President of crypto-focused hedge fund ProChain Capital, told Bloomberg:

“Folks that are invested in Litecoin see these technical moves as not being important enough anymore -- there needs to be more fundamental development. These technical activities, although they make sense from a supply-demand perspective in terms of amount outstanding and so forth, at the end of the day, that story-line only works for so long.

It is in this context that we need to examine Lee's comments, earlier today, which came via a Twitter thread

Lee, who is the managing director of the Litecoin Foundation, started by pointing out that during its eight-year history, there have only been six core developers (including Lee himself):

He then went on to say:

  • Since, by design, Litecoin is very similar to Bitcoin and the team is "mostly just merging in Bitcoin changes," only one lead developer is needed; for the past few years, this person has been Adrian Gallagher (AKA "thrasher").
  • Despite the "FUD about Litecoin having no code commits in 2019," the team has been not idle.
  • First, it important to understand that "Litecoin releases lag Bitcoin releases by a few months." Litecoin Core 0.17.1, which was released in May, had Bitcoin code that was released mostly in 2018, and so when people look at GitHub, it looks as though "most of the commits were done in 2018" and that "Litecoin developers took the year off."
  • Second, new development work is not done "on the master branch of the main project" (to avoid the possibility of getting "a broken build"). 
  • Regarding lack of progress on improving fungibility, i.e. via MimbleWimble (MW) and Confidential Transactions (CT), he was to blame for "dropping the ball" due to getting side-tracked by many other things that needed his attention, which were mostly having to do with increasing Litecoin's awareness and adoption. 
  • He understood that it was time "to shift focus from adoption back to development," but did not want to promise when the work on fungibility would be finished.
  • He will improve "communication with the community and give more frequent updates on things."