How to Mine Litecoin
Among the mineable cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks, Litecoin (LTC) is probably the most frequently compared crypto to Bitcoin (BTC). Litecoin is a direct descendant, i.e., a fork of Bitcoin, and shares many of the same properties with the world’s leading cryptocurrency – the mining process, supply limitation, and the mining reward halving.
Litecoin, one of the earliest cryptos on the market, was launched in 2011 and is often referred to as the “silver” of the crypto world, with the designation of “gold” being reserved for Bitcoin. Litecoin is among the easiest cryptos to mine. Due to its lower profile and popularity compared to Bitcoin and some other Bitcoin offshoots, e.g., Bitcoin SV and Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin’s mining difficulty has typically been quite low. As such, LTC might just be among the most profitable coins to mine. In this article, we detail everything about how to mine Litecoin.
- Litecoin, often referred to as the ‘silver’ of the crypto world, is among the easiest cryptocurrencies to mine, making it potentially profitable for miners.
- Litecoin’s rewards are halved every four years, but its faster block generation time offers more frequent rewards compared to Bitcoin.
- There are three main ways to mine Litecoin: solo mining, joining a mining pool, or using a cloud mining provider.
How Does Litecoin Mining Work?
The Litecoin mining process is similar to that of its parent, Bitcoin, or other proof of work (PoW) blockchains, such as Dogecoin (DOGE), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), or Ethereum Classic(ETC). Miners try to solve a computationally intensive math puzzle to gain the right to add the next block of transactions to the Litecoin network. Though we have referred to the mining process as solving a “math puzzle”, it probably could be better described as a simple digit substitution exercise with not much of any serious math involved. Essentially, miners use their powerful rigs to continually generate new digit combinations in the hope of finding the match required by the Litecoin network’s software.
The first miner who manages to (essentially randomly) find the required digit combination earns the right to validate the currently mined block. Just like on Bitcoin, solving/mining a block is far from an altruistic endeavor on Litecoin – miners get their standard mining reward in LTC coins.
The miner’s reward for each solved block is currently 12.5 LTC (around $1,200). Similar to Bitcoin, Litecoin has a reward-halving mechanism built into its mining process. Litecoin’s rewards are halved every four years, just like on Bitcoin. The initial value of the reward was 50 LTC back in 2011 to 2015, during the coin’s first four years in operation. The first halving event, taking the standard reward to 25 LTC, occurred in August 2015. This was followed by the August 2019 halving, which took the reward down to its current 12.5 LTC. This year, we will witness another round of halving. This is expected to occur in July 2023, and it will take the reward down to 6.25 LTC.
Compared to Bitcoin’s reward amounts, these numbers look rather unimpressive. However, a new block of transactions is generated on Litecoin every 2.5 minutes. This is four times as frequent as Bitcoin’s 10-minute block period, meaning that Litecoin miners can earn their rewards considerably more frequently than Bitcoin miners. Moreover, Litecoin is much easier to mine than its daddy Bitcoin, as measured by their mining difficulty scores.
Mining Difficulty Score
The mining difficulty score is a standard measure used to estimate the computational requirements for mining a coin. It specifies the number of hashes a machine needs to produce to solve a new block. Among popular mineable cryptocurrencies, Litecoin has the second-lowest mining difficulty estimates, after one of its descendant forks, Dogecoin. The image below shows the current mining difficulty scores for popular PoW cryptos.
It is very evident from the table that Litecoin is much easier to mine than Bitcoin and several other popular coins. Moreover, when it comes to mining cryptos, Dogecoin – the crypto with the lowest mining difficulty – is not a rival or mutually exclusive alternative to Litecoin as you can mine them together.
How to Mine Litecoin?
There are three main ways to mine Litecoin:
- Solo mining
- Via a mining pool
- Via a cloud mining provider
Each of these options has its own merits. However, by now, solo mining without a very powerful mining machine has become difficult to turn a profit due to the increased competition among miners. This is not something unique to Litecoin. By early 2023, solo mining without a mammoth rig has become a futile exercise on pretty much any popular mineable blockchain network.
With solo mining, you join the Litecoin network as an individual miner node and use your mining machine to try to mine transaction blocks. If you do manage to add a new block to the chain, you will get the standard 12.5 LTC mining reward, all without having to share it with any other network participant. This is the main and probably the only advantage of solo mining on Litecoin.
The main disadvantage of mining Litecoin solo is the infrequency and inconsistency of rewards. Solo miners compete with mining pools, massive cooperatives that combine the computing resources of a large number of miners to solve new blocks on the network. The combined hash power enjoyed by the mining pools makes profitable solo mining extremely difficult.
As a solo miner, if you do not have a very powerful machine, you might end up never getting a block reward. Even with a powerful mining rig, you might end up waiting for extended periods for your next block reward. That is, of course, if you do manage to solve any blocks.
Litecoin mining pools
Litecoin mining pools are another, and probably the most popular, way of mining LTC. These pools combine resources from multiple miners to increase the chance of solving a block of transactions. When a member of the pool manages to mine a block, the 12.5 LTC reward is split between all the pool participants.
Each member receives a share of the reward proportional to the hash power contributed. Thus, as is the case with solo mining, it pays to have as powerful a rig as possible when joining a pool. The image below shows the top 10 Litecoin mining pools as of Jan 31, 2023.
Many mining pools retain a small percentage of the reward, typically anything between 0.1% and 3-4%, for providing their services. However, the good news is that there are at least several large pools in the Litecoin mining sphere that charge no fees at all. For instance, one of the leading Litecoin pools,litecoinpool.org has always been free to mine with.
Solo Mining vs. Litecoin Mining Pool
For miners without very powerful rigs, pool mining might be the only realistic option to earn rewards. Naturally, rigs without significant hash power are likely to earn very little in any mining pool. However, at least you will have some funds flowing in consistently. In contrast, solo mining without a high-end rig will likely lead to no rewards at all.
Even if you own a very powerful rig that lets you mine solo, pool mining may give you a more stable way to earn rewards. While your powerful rig can still let you turn a profit, joining a pool represents a way to earn rewards with a much higher frequency, even if in smaller bits.
Let’s say a miner with a high-spec rig manages to earn a full-block reward once a month on average. By joining a pool, they can earn that amount in consistent, small chunks daily over the same period of one month. In other words, joining a pool might not increase the overall profitability of your mining activity over the long term, but it will allow you to earn a more consistent income.
The larger the pool you join, the more frequently you can get your rewards.
Besides solo and pool mining options for Litecoin, there is also a third, and less conventional way to participate in the mining process – using a cloud mining provider. Under the cloud mining model, you simply pay a monthly or yearly fee to a service provider that “rents” you some computing hash power. The cloud provider mines cryptocurrency for you in exchange for the fee and gives you a share of the mining profit commensurate with your rented hash power.
Cloud mining does not require you to own any hardware, a big advantage compared to solo mining or pool mining. In essence, you simply pay a fee in the expectation of positive returns from the cloud provider. Naturally, your earnings might fluctuate depending on the network activity and mining difficulty on the Litecoin network. While the fee you pay to the cloud mining provider is usually fixed, your returns are normally variable.
Take into account, however, that the choice of reliable cloud mining providers is quite limited, particularly for Litecoin and other mineable cryptos less prominent than Bitcoin. Some major cloud mining providers with the option to mine Litecoin are NiceHash and Bitdeer.
Things You Need to Mine Litecoin
Litecoin Mining Hardware
In theory, Litecoin mining can be done using CPUs, GPUs, or ASIC rigs, all of which are powerful machines specifically designed for cryptocurrency mining. However, realistically, mining Litecoin with a CPU or GPU is no longer a profitable option. Although Litecoin’s mining difficulty is much lower compared to the majority of other leading PoW cryptos, competition among miners on the chain has intensified over the last several years. Given the increased competition, CPU or GPU mining is simply not going to be profitable.
Using an ASIC machine is the only realistic way to derive profit from Litecoin mining. ASICs have been popular in Bitcoin mining for many years.
Unfortunately, a Bitcoin ASIC cannot be used as a Litecoin mining rig. This is because Bitcoin and Litecoin use different hashing algorithms. Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 algorithm, while Litecoin is based on Scrypt hashing.
The good news is that ASIC machines used for Litecoin mining can be used to concurrently mine another highly popular coin, Dogecoin. Dogecoin is one of the forked descendants of Litecoin and shares the same Scrypt hashing algorithm with it. Thanks to the high levels of compatibility between the two cryptos, they are often mined together via merged mining.
In merged mining, you simply use the same machine and resources to mine two cryptos, in this case, Litecoin and Dogecoin, at the same time.
Litecoin Mining Software
After setting up your mining hardware, you will need to download and use specific software to mine Litecoin. Many software packages work well for Litecoin mining. Some such as MultiMiner and CGMiner are completely free to use. Popular paid mining software packages for Litecoin include Kryptex and Cudo Miner.
A Litecoin wallet is required to hold your mined funds. Not all top software wallet brands support Litecoin. Some of the popular wallet providers that provide the Litecoin wallet option are Atomic Wallet, Trust Wallet, and Guarda Wallet.
How Long Does It Take to Mine One Litecoin?
Litecoin has a block time of 2.5 minutes, and that is the amount of time it takes to mine one Litecoin. In this regard, Litecoin is mined four times as frequently as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Bitcoin SV. Among popular mineable cryptos, two have even lower block generation times than Litecoin – Dogecoin (1 minute) and Ethereum Classic (15 seconds).
What Is the Best Way to Mine Litecoin?
In early 2023, the optimal way to mine Litecoin is by using a reasonably powerful ASIC machine and joining a large enough pool. Mining solo is still possible with a very powerful ASIC setup, but using a pool is well recommended even if you own the most powerful rig available. By joining a pool, you will ensure much better consistency of your mining income.
Additionally, Litecoin is among the coins with a few decent free mining pools available on the market. Thus, pool-based mining is optimal for LTC.
When setting up your mining operations, ensure that you also mine Dogecoin in a merged format with Litecoin. You spend no additional resources by doing so and only stand to benefit by earning DOGE in addition to LTC.
Is Litecoin Mining Profitable?
As covered earlier in our article, Litecoin is among the easiest coins to mine, with only Dogecoin having a lower difficulty score. That doesn’t mean, however, that Litecoin mining is necessarily profitable. Competition among miners in 2023 is quite fierce on just about any popular mineable crypto network.
Further, just like Bitcoin, Litecoin has a capped supply. There will only be 84 million Litecoin ever created, and as of January 2023, around 72 million have already been minted. Coupled with the reward halving mechanism, the ever-diminishing rewards will drop to zero by 2142. So while Litecoin remains relatively profitable for now, bear in mind that its profitability will only decrease over time.
To properly estimate the profitability of mining Litecoin, you are well advised to use some of the popular profitability calculators online. WhatToMine.com is undoubtedly the most commonly used among these calculators. Head to the website’s calculator section, choose Litecoin, and enter the key parameters to estimate – the hash rate and power consumption of the mining rig you own or consider buying, your electricity costs, and the fees you would pay if mining via a pool.
The calculator will quickly show you how much profit, if any, you are going to make. Do remember, however, that mining profitability estimates can change rapidly depending on factors such as competition among miners on the network and, importantly, LTC’s current market price.
What to Do With Your Mined Litecoin
There are two main ways to cash out your mined Litecoin.
Sell on Exchange
You can sell your Litecoin on a reputable exchange like Bybit. At Bybit, you can sell your Litecoin via One-Click Buy or P2P trading.
Bybit’s One-Click Buy function provides you with a straightforward way to sell your Litecoin in just a few steps. You will just need to click on Sell, then select your desired coin to sell (in this case, LTC) and fiat currency to receive, and the number of coins to sell or the amount of fiat you want to receive. Then, click on Sell LTC to confirm your sale. You can select your preferred payment method, or simply choose the recommended payment method from Bybit based on the current exchange rate.
Bybit also has a secure P2P platform connecting sellers and buyers at zero fees. Bybit’s P2P service offers top-notch security with multiple layers of protection for your assets, such as KYC verification for all advertisers and an escrow service to hold user funds. It also gives you more flexibility in your choice of buyer, since you can filter out your buyer advertisers by filling in the Amount, Fiat Currencies, or Payment Methods fields.
Lend as Collateral
You can also lend your Litecoin via Bybit Lending to earn high-interest payouts from borrowers, paid out hourly after your deposit. Bybit Lending also guarantees a flexible redemption period so you can credit your redemption immediately. Your funds are kept secure with extensive risk management measures, such as collateral value ratios and an Insurance Fund.
It’s easy to become a lender on Bybit, as all you need is a Bybit account. Log in to your account and click on Bybit Lending to be redirected to the Unified Trading Account (UTA) page with the Lending function on its menu. Next, choose an asset to lend (LTC, in this case) and confirm your transaction. Once your transaction is confirmed, you can review its details, including the hourly interest rate.
Litecoin shares many similarities with its predecessor, Bitcoin, including the mining process and reward-halving mechanism. While Litecoin is considered one of the easiest cryptocurrencies to mine, competition among miners is intense and profitability can vary. Furthermore, the decreasing mining rewards over time (due to the capped supply and halving mechanism) can affect Litecoin’s mining profitability. By utilizing the right tools and strategies, miners can maximize their chances of success in the ever-evolving mining landscape.