Who is Charlie Lee?

13 Sep, 2018
by David Robb
Who is Charlie Lee?

As the founder of Litecoin (LTC), Charlie Lee has made one of the most significant contributions to the development of the crypto space. Launched in 2011, just three years after Bitcoin, Litecoin was one of the earliest altcoins and it remains in the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap.

A MIT Computer Science grad, Lee created the Litecoin protocol while he was working as a software engineer for Google. His Litecoin cryptocurrency network was a hardfork from the original Bitcoin blockchain, operating with a similar proof-of-work mining system, and a hard cap of 84 million LTC.

Unlike Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which was created through a hardfork from Bitcoin last year after a major disagreement between developers, or Ethereum (ETH) which operates an entirely different type of decentralized platform, Litecoin was never intended as a rival or competitor to Bitcoin.

Lee has described Litecoin as "the silver to Bitcoin's gold", peacefully co-existing and complementing BTC as a scaled-down alternative. He designed it in order to facilitate smaller transactions, with the ability to process payments up to four times faster and with much lower fees.

Lee also used a Scrypt protocol for the Litecoin blockchain instead of cryptographic hashing, which meant that no dedicated hardware was required to mine LTC blocks.

After setting up the Litecoin Foundation, of which he remains the managing director, Lee went on to be head of engineering at leading cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase in 2013.

He served there until June 2017, when he left to refocus his energies on the Litecoin project. He also spends a large part of his time working on Bitcoin projects, believing that the improvement of BTC will be beneficial for the entire crypto space.

Lee tends to stay out of the kind of ideological or personal disputes that other major crypto founders and influencers often find themselves in on social media, but he did recently see some controversy over his decision to sell off all of his own LTC holdings in December 2017.

This big sell-off occurred when LTC was at its all-time high price. It was also less than 6 months after Litecoin was listed on Coinbase, the exchange that Lee had worked at for many years. Lee was one of the main voices calling for LTC trading to be supported on the exchange.

Many observers grew suspicious at these developments, with suggestions that he was cashing out at the top with no regard for the future of his project, and that he had encouraged Coinbase to list Litecoin in order to inflate the price of a crypto that he had a major stake in.

Lee insisted that this story was highly implausible, and maintained that the reason he was selling off his LTC was to avoid this kind of conflict of interest, as he felt that he had too much potential influence on the value of the Litecoin token.

Despite his protestations, accusations of insider trading continue to be a stain on Lee's otherwise impeccable reputation in the crypto community.

Read more: Charlie Lee reveals personal investment portfolio and why he sold LTC

A veteran of the cryptocurrency space, Lee remains one of its most respected and trusted voices. His social media posts are a reliable source of information and guidance, and when crypto eventually realises its full potential, he will be one of the figures to whom we owe the most gratitude.

Read more: Founder of Litecoin Charlie Lee discusses the state of cryptocurrencies

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