Litecoin reached a new record today, extending its recent gains and increasing its year-to-date (YTD) returns to more than 4,000%.
The digital currency, which is a fork of digital sibling Bitcoin, rose to as much as $186.89, according to CoinMarketCap.
After starting out 2017 at $4.33, this latest high represented a YTD return of roughly 4,215%.
[Ed note: Investing in cryptocoins or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment.]
While Bitcoin has had a great year, breaking through several price levels and enjoying a meteoric rise, Litecoin has experienced an even stronger rally.
Bitcoin has risen to as much as $17,364.56 on the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI), representing a YTD gain of more than 1,600%.
The digital currency has climbed even more by some measures, surpassing $18,300 on CoinMarketCap and rising more than 1,800% for the year.
While these figures are impressive, generating countless headlines about Bitcoin’s sharp climb and all the so-called “Bitcoin Millionaires” it has produced, Litecoin’s YTD gain is more than twice that of its digital sibling.
Bitcoin and Litecoin have both pushed higher this year, but this is certainly not he first time that the price of the two cryptocurrencies have risen in tandem.
Earlier this year, a CoinDesk article described Bitcoin and Litecoin as “birds of a feather,” emphasizing that the two have frequently followed each other in their price movements.
This development has led some to speculate that Litecoin is simply riding Bitcoin’s coattails.
Tim Enneking, managing director of Crypto Asset Management, recently stated that the former currency is “absolutely cruising in BTC’s wake!”
He emphasized that while Bitcoin has been generating headlines, Litecoin has not announced any major updates as of late.
While the aforementioned explanations may provide a better sense of why both Bitcoin and Litecoin have pushed higher this year, certain analysts have started offering different points of view.
Some of them have asserted that Litecoin is a “Bitcoin hedge,” as the latter currency’s network is dealing with a high level of unconfirmed transactions.
Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst for eToro, was in this camp.
“Litecoin is more scalable by nature and with bitcoins mempool currently flooded with unconfirmed transactions Litecoin is looking much better than BTC as a medium of exchange,” he said.
Charles Hayter, co-founder and CEO of digital currency platform CryptoCompare, also agreed that Litecoin is a Bitcoin hedge, stating that while the two are very similar, the altcoin has greater upside potential and less downside risk.
Other market observers took a different tack, describing Litecoin as an investment that has been receiving tailwinds as market participants flock to cryptocurrencies.
Jeff Koyen, strategic advisor for 360 Blockchain, stated:
“All the attention paid to bitcoin in the past few weeks has served as a rising tide for all cryptocurrencies,” he said.
“But with bitcoin overbought at the moment and Ethereum relatively flat, they’re turning to Litecoin — a grande dame crypto with reliable underpinnings and enough similarities to bitcoin that they’re comfortable buying.”
Yazan Barghuthi, project lead at Jibrel Network, also weighed in on the situation:
“We’re going to see a lot of value flow into alt-coins driven by portfolio diversification and realization of gains,” he stated.
“In a speculative market, with new non-savvy entrants, the alt-coins that will do the best are the ones with highest accessibility. With LTC being provided across the main exchanges – i.e. is highly accessible to the average investor, it is no surprise to see a large chunk of the Bitcoin to Altcoin flow towards LTC.”