With Midas approaching and the averted U.S. government shutdown giving BTC holders a bit of a roller coaster to enjoy this month, Litecoin enthusiasts have been disappointed to find LTC prices in a slump. Detractors relish in saying that Litecoin’s missed its chance, that scrypt is a passing fad, and markets have been eager to dump their holdings at news tall and slight that can be construed as somehow bad for the currency. Yet, despite the rapid-fire dissolution of Atlantis and Silk Road, both Bitcoin and Litecoin markets have remained surprisingly resilient, if not growing in the weeks passing since.
While Bitcoin’s fortunes have improved with increasing uncertainties about the U.S. economy, Litecoin’s distressingly glum slide is, however, one that has been seen before, and by the only currency that has already been there: Bitcoin.
In the early half of 2011, Bitcoin was cruising along, bumping up past its previous microscopic levels, when suddenly prices began to soar. First up through the single digits, and then up to 20 and 30 dollars a-piece, prices seemed to hold in the high teens for a few months, before slowly sinking back down into low single digits by year’s end. Wired magazine memorably ran an editorial full of obituary prose in November of 2011 about the rise and fall of Bitcoin, it being a curious-and-amusing if failed experiment. And it seemed that the experiment had run its course. Yet, despite its slow and steady drop, Bitcoin’s “crash” remained just that—slow and steady—and its value never dropped below its pre-spike levels. Although the coin could not maintain its astonishing double-digit exchange rates, enough people found use for the currency and adoption was widespread enough that it retained its meager value without ever dropping back into nothingness, even over the course of the entire year and a half that it would take before the coin began its mythical ascent in April of 2013.
There is much to be learned about Litecoin from looking at the history of Bitcoin, and one day textbooks will likely be written on the subject. It is impossible to gain any certainty about Litecoin’s future simply by taking what happened to Bitcoin at face value, in part because as a secondary currency the fate of the Litecoin is inextricably linked to the mundane daily fortunes of the Bitcoin. But there are some striking similarities between the Bitcoin Bust of 2011 and the Litecoin Boom of 2013, and they can be used to make sense of what may be happening going into the future.
In fact, the similarities are astonishing. In both instances, prices rocketed from initial microscopic levels to boom’s peak in a matter of weeks to months. Soon after the initial spike ended, prices regained themselves before dropping down again into the slow slump we now see encompassing Litecoin. As prices continued to fall, the shallow incline remained steady without ever dropping down to pre-boom/bust oblivion. In Bitcoin’s case, things spent a full year and a half before finally heating back up again in late 2012.
Now, it is impossible to know just how things are going play out in the coming months and years for cryptocurrencies in general, especially in regard to Litecoin. However, one thing is certain: Litecoin is not going anywhere. Midas is coming in 2013. Will Litecoin spend its own year in the mire, as Bitcoin did before its Phoenix-like rebirth? Or will Midas provide Litecoin with its second Bitcoin-like boom and bust, as technology’s ever accelerating future continues apace? We will know soon enough.
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