Litecoin used to be a top player in the crypto space, branded as the “silver to bitcoin’s gold”. During the 2013 bitcoin bubble, LTC was the #2 market and was highly correlated to the price of bitcoin.
In 2013, bitcoin gained +11,000% and litecoin gained +500% over the price of bitcoin during its peak. The price of LTC hit an all time high of around $50 on some exchanges.
The last major litecoin rally was during the summer of 2015, when a Chinese LTC Ponzi scheme managed to accumulate at least 20% of the entire supply. Most of that supply was instantly dumped and the LTC/BTC markets have been on a long bear trend since.
Litecoin lost its correlation to bitcoin after the summer pump and was left behind during most of the year long BTC bull trend. That said, its USD value has remained somewhat stable and consolidating within a tight range.
Although litecoin hasn’t been a very good market to trade for most of 2016, it’s possible that this rock is a sleeping giant ready to rise from its slumber. Here are four reasons why litecoin may hit a bullish trend reversal in 2017.
Chinese Exchanges Can Only Trade Spot
Recently the People’s Bank of China cracked down on major crypto exchanges. The result being that they stopped all margin trading and have eliminated the zero fees model.
This means that Chinese traders can only play in the spot markets and will have to devise entirely new strategies for making profit. The only way to make profit on the spot markets is to buy low and sell high. Traders can no longer short by selling coins they don’t have. If they want to be a participant in the crypto markets they need to own some coins.
The larger bitcoin bull trend is still intact but likely due for several months of consolidation, perhaps forming a large symmetrical triangle. Generally speaking, when the price of bitcoin stabilizes, liquidity shifts into the altcoin markets.
As it turns out, the only altcoin market available on the top Chinese bitcoin exchanges (OKCoin, Huobi and BTCChina) is litecoin. Given the choice between the two markets, the percentage gains for moving a smaller cap market like LTC can be much higher. Accumulating litecoin at the bottom of its price range is also a cheaper option than accumulating bitcoin at the top of its range. Game theory would suggest that buying litecoin has more profit potential.
Litecoin is the only altcoin that trades more volume in fiat than against BTC. The majority of litecoin’s volume is actually in CNY, which means the markets could take on a life of their own and easily become non-correlated to the price of bitcoin.
SegWit and Lightning Network Integration
Litecoin is currently in the process of trying to help bitcoin’s scaling debate by moving towards the activation of Segregated Witness and Lightning Networks. Litecoin founder Charlie Lee stated in a recent post:
“Until SegWit, LN, and Confidential Transactions, I didn’t see a need for Litecoin to come out to help test features before they are on Bitcoin. So I was happy to let Litecoin go on without a lot of development. Hence my tweet about Litecoin not needing development. But with SegWit and Bitcoin’s current block scaling deadlock, I see a potential for Litecoin to help Bitcoin break through this deadlock. Litecoin can take a lead and be a positive force in the cryptocurrency space. We have been drafting behind the Bitcoin race car for many years. It’s about time to take a turn out front.”
If Litecoin implements these changes before Bitcoin, this will completely change the network’s fundamentals and offer something new to the ecosystem. That alone has the potential to attract market interest from crypto traders.
Growing Hash Rate
The Litecoin network’s hash rate is starting to show exponential growth. Sometimes a coin’s price can be correlated to the amount of hashing power on the network. The increased difficulty means that miners need to spend money in upgrading their equipment to be more efficient. If the cost of mining coins is on par or greater than the price, miners will hoard coins instead of immediately selling on the markets.
Litecoin is currently the second most secure blockchain in the world and it doesn’t seem like the market value is reflecting this achievement.
Overdue for a Reversal
If there’s one thing that can be said about the markets, it’s that trends don’t last forever. Any market that’s still alive with decent liquidity tends to go through cycles. Litecoin currently ranks #3 for crypto trading volume and is #4 for market capitalization.
LTC is currently at its lowest BTC satoshi value in years. Given that this is still one of the top crypto markets, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a bullish trend reversal in 2017.
Looking at the LTC/BTC charts we can see litecoin starting to creep past the descending trend line. If we use a fib extension off the last major high to measure the bear trend, we can see the price is hovering around the 61.8% sweet spot. If LTC starts consolidating sideways then it may be entering into the accumulate phase, which is the first period within a bull cycle.