Litecoin (CCC:LTC-USD) has had a miserable performance so far in 2022 for a cryptocurrency. As of Jan. 27 end-of-the-market, it was at $104.93. This is substantially below the $144.71 price where it ended 2021. That gives LTC-USD’s performance of negative $27.5% so far this year. That is not a great way to start off the year.
However, not everyone is so negative about Litecoin. Recently The Daily Hodl reported that a leading crypto intelligence firm Santiment had noticed that some “whales” had been accumulating LTC-USD. By this, they meant some large buyers seemed to be accumulating the cryptocurrency. According to the firm, these smart money buyers had been on a 15-week accumulation streak.
At the time the crypto price was about $148, and now it is at $104.93. So LTC-USD has had a rough time ever since those “whales” started accumulating it. At least there is one group of investors that like Litecoin and are likely to stick with it.
Where LTC-USD Stands Now
The truth is that Litecoin is not likely to pull out of its slump this year at least until Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD) starts to stage a turnaround. For one, Litecoin’s founder, Charles Lee, tends to believe that Litecoin is correlated to Bitcoin. Lee is often quoted as saying that Litecoin is the digital silver to Bitcoin as gold.
Moreover, Investopedia says that LTC-USD tends to rise and fall with the movements in Bitcoin over time. However, Bitcoin has a much larger market capitalization — $683 billion compared to Litecoin’s $7.3 billion as of Jan. 27, 2022.
That implies that there are many more institutional investors involved in Bitcoin than Litecoin, the 21st largest crypto, compared to the number 1 crypto.
Moreover, Litecoin has a different function than Bitcoin. It is peer-to-peer crypto focused on payments transactions. Right now, Litecoin is accepted at 3,202 merchants worldwide. This is up from 3,111 in October 2021 when Cointelegraph wrote on the subject. By contrast, Bitcoin is seen more as a store of value rather than a transaction-oriented crypto.
However, just like Bitcoin, Litecoin suffers from one great drawback: the lack of smart contracts. Other cryptocurrency blockchains like Ethereum (CCC:ETH-USD), Polkadot (CCC:DOT-USD), and Solana (CCC:SOL-USD) already have this vital decentralized finance (DeFi) feature implemented to some extent. This deficiency limits Litecoin’s ability to rise much further.
The bottom line is developers are not really flocking to write DeFi apps in the Litecoin blockchain. Part of the problem is the Litecoin Foundation is not sponsoring money for developers to get behind the crypto’s DeFi development.
Where This Leaves Investors in Litecoin
Recently a major crypto investor publicly denigrated Litecoin on CNBC for the reasons that I cited above. Mike Novogratz “disrespected” Litecoin, according to Cryptoslate magazine on Dec. 27. He said that Litecoin does not deserve the attention it gets as a cryptocurrency.
The main reason is that it has a lack of community engagement and it is not a technology platform with engagement with developers.
Investors should think long and hard about this before considering investing in Litecoin. It is not for nothing that this cryptocurrency seems to be losing value.
The truth is that until Litecoin and its supporting foundation can get the developer community behind its growth, the price of LTC-USD is not going to stage a major rebound. At least, there won’t be a rebound independent of Bitcoin and its influence on the crypto’s price.
So, in a sense, to invest in Litecoin is to invest in Bitcoin, albeit at a cheaper price, and with less conviction in its utility as a cryptocurrency. It will be better to wait for an opportunity when the crypto is dirt cheap, or much cheaper than today.
On the date of publication, Mark R. Hake did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.