Litecoin (CCC:LTC-USD), known as the silver to Bitcoin’s (CCC:BTC-USD) gold, is slowly gaining acceptance as a method of payment in online commerce. This is because as more institutions accept Bitcoin for payment they tend to include Litecoin in the same vein. As a result, LTC-USD is slowly gaining value as a valid transactional cryptocurrency.
In the last five months, LTC-USD bottomed out on July 20 at $107.40 but has since rebounded to $192.04 as of Nov. 27. That represents a gain of 78.8% from its recent trough. In addition, Litecoin ended last year at $126.23, so the year-to-date (YTD) performance is up 52.1%.
While not as robust a return as some other cryptos, it is still a respectable performance for most investors. In fact, the S&P hasn’t done this well so far this year, up a little over 25% YTD according to Google Finance.
Recent Developments with Litecoin
Retailers are slowly warming up to Litecoin as a method of payment for goods and services. For example, when AMC (NYSE:AMC), the largest global movie theater chain, recently started accepting online payments, they included Litecoin along with Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD), Bitcoin Cash (CCC:BCH-USD) and Ethereum (CCC:ETH-USD).
Moreover, he said that they now represent 14% of their total online payments. This must have been after a period of testing them for online payments.
In addition, he indicated that the company accepts Google Pay, Apple Pay, and PayPal as forms of payment. In each of these, you can either pay in normal fiat currencies such as dollars, euros, etc., or one of the cryptocurrencies. He also indicated that Dogecoin (CCC:DOGE-USD) would be added next.
To make things even easier, Litecoin now has its own “eBit” Visa card. It’s a virtual debit card that will convert LTC-USD into dollars in minutes and is, as of now, only available in the U.S. It allows you to keep your eBit Visa card balance in Litecoin after every recent dollar transaction.
You can even load dollars onto your card and their balance will be kept in Litecoin until you spend them. The Litecoin Foundation says that you can go online to 50 million merchants worldwide to use the card.
Where This Leaves Litecoin
So far you can’t really use Litecoin for retail purchases other than by using this new Litecoin Visa card. If this takes off, expect to see other merchants and cryptos take advantage of similar cards.
Why would someone want to do this instead of just using a regular debit card? Well, for one, people are less trustful of fiat currency banks these days.
After all, President Joe Biden’s appointee for the Comptroller of the Currency has indicated an interest in dramatically restructuring consumer bank accounts so that the government can directly control them. In a recent paper she proposed migrating all customer demand deposits to the Federal Reserve system. This would relegate community banks to providing fee based “pass-through FedAccounts” which would essentially be accounts hosted on behalf of the Fed.
This is a radical policy proposal and people aren’t going to be up for it. As a result, many may want to keep all their cash or balances in cryptocurrency outside of government control and regulation. This type of eBit card would directly allow that to happen.
Moreover, by paying for goods and services with LTC-USD you can keep currency balances earning staking fees. This is otherwise known as interest in the world of fiat cash deposits. As a result, only the minimum amount of fiat cash to cover a retail transaction would be converted from LTC-USD to fiat currency.
The bottom line is that if other major retailers start to copy AMC’s move and if the Litecoin eBit card takes off, expect to see Litecoin rise as well.
On the date of publication, Mark R. Hake owns a long position in Bitcoin and Ethereum but did not own any other security mentioned in the article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.