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The Developer Drop Off: Litecoin GitHub Activity Languishes



How do you judge the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies? There are many answers to this question, but a good way to start is to measure the metrics on GitHub.


GitHub is the platform where developers code cryptocurrencies and a major metric to watch is commit activity. A commit, or “revision,” is an individual change to a file (or set of files) within each project. We can gauge developer interest by observing the status of commits over time.

Bitcoin and ethereum have relatively consistent progress. EOS saw high levels during its blockchain debut but lessened since then. Litecoin appears to be uniquely inactive.

Litecoin saw high levels of activity during the rally of late 2017. Its price also happened to be at-all-time highs back then as well. According to CoinDesk’s Litecoin Price Tracker, December 19, 2017 was the top of the market. It also happened to be the date that litecoin founder, Charlie Lee, sold all of his litecoin holdings.

Similar to the declining nature of its price, litecoin commit activity started to diminish soon after the highs. March 14 was the first week of the consistent trend of litecoin generating zero or the occasional one commit per week. In the past few weeks, its price has bounced around $50.

Compared to other major cryptocurrencies that still have developers plugging away, the state of litecoin seems to be atrophying. Other such fundamentals like transaction volume have also diminished, going from about 20 percent to that of bitcoin’s in December to about 2 percent to that of bitcoin’s in August.

While these signals seem negative, there are some seeds that could bear fruit in the future. Charlie Lee has begun working with HTC to enable litecoin on their phones. A web bank is attempting to launch litecoin “debit cards, merchant processing, and other innovative solutions.” You might even be able to send litecoin through Telegram and SMS in the future.

A popular litecoin twitter account responded to the lack of developer activity with the following:

Observers of litecoin should note the drop off in commits, while also understanding development is still happening around the litecoin community in less visible ways. At the same time, inactivity of the main litecoin project shouldn’t be ignored.