Coinbase has announced support for the digital currency litecoin, which will become the third cryptocurrency available on the platform. Users will now be able to purchase, sell and store the new virtual currency using Coinbase app or via the exchange’s website.
“This is part of our shift to supporting more types of digital assets over the coming year,” said Ankur Nandwani, product manager at Coinbase. “At Coinbase, our mission is to create an open financial system for the world. We’re paving our path to that goal by creating the most trusted and easiest way to buy/sell digital currency. With the addition of Litecoin, one of the most trusted and popular digital currencies, we are moving one step closer to our goal.”
The price of litecoin has skyrocketed following the announcement on Wednesday, with its market value surpassing $1 billion. Thus, lietcoin became the fourth most valuable digital currency in the world. It is now trading at $24.95 per coin, according to CoinMarketCap.
In general, litecoin has been on the rise since March amid the growing demand from Chinese and discussions about Segregated Witness (SegWit) activation.
Charlie Lee, director of engineering at Coinbase and the creator of litecoin, is optimistic about the future of the digital currency. A few months ago, Lee together with the Litecoin mining community started working on integrating SegWit into the litecoin network. The upgrade is expected to increase the block size capacity and fix malleability issues, thus accelerating cryptocurrency transactions.
The bitcoin community is facing ongoing debates on whether to implement SegWit into bitcoin. While some miners signal for SegWit, which will increase the block size, others propose to implement Bitcoin Unlimited, which will completely remove the bitcoin block size limit. The miners, however, haven’t yet reached the consensus on how to solve the scaling issue.
The members of the litecoin community, meantime, recently came to a common decision to implement SegWit which will happen next week. Currently, litecoin doesn’t have a scaling problem, but according to Lee, the digital currency can help bitcoin to break the ongoing debates. In addition to the higher speed of transactions, the solution will allow litecoin to apply Lightning Network to enable instant payments off the main blockchain.
The forthcoming adoption of SegWit and the latest developments have heightened interest in the litecoin cryptocurrency, which resulted in the growth of its price and trading volume.
Last month, Coinbase unveiled its open source browser for the Ethereum network that will provide universal access to financial services. The solution will help millions of people who do not have an account at a financial institution make digital payments.
In March, the exchange enabled margin trading on its Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX) platform. Coinbase expects that the new service will attract more clients to the exchange and will facilitate the growth of the digital asset industry.