The world of cryptocurrency is filled with personalities. Most of them are enigmatic at best and hard to like at worst. You could consider Charlie Lee to be the exception to the rule. Lee is known for being optimistic yet pragmatic. The creator of Litecoin has a unique ability to view the future of his own creation and all cryptocurrency with a sensibility that few possess.
Lee would seemingly have many reasons to be bearish on crypto. Litecoin has not lived up to the expectations of Lee and other crypto investors. Lee has been accused of project abandonment where Litecoin is concerned, a claim the developer disputes. Many excoriated him for selling his own Litecoin stake when the token had almost peaked in value. Despite all the slings and arrows thrown his way, Lee continues to be a champion of cryptocurrency.
The Journey of Charlie Lee
Born on the Ivory Coast, Charlie Lee and his family immigrated to the US when Lee was 13. After graduating high school in 1995 the young Lee went on to attend MIT. He earned degrees in computer science and graduated in 2000. This is where the expected progression of life ended for Charlie Lee.
With his education Lee could have pursued any number of projects in computer technology. His first years working for tech giants like Google were unsatisfying. It was while working at Google that Lee first came up with the idea for Litecoin. Lee had read an article on the Silk Road, the infamous underground drug marketplace of the Dark Web. The article changed Lee. He had been thinking of ways to trade gold. Suddenly, trading in cryptocurrency seemed like a much better prospect.
Lee’s own political and economic leanings had bred a distrust of the Federal Reserve, and he found that he had little interest in making traditional investments that were wrapped up in the existing financial landscape. Bitcoin was an exciting new digital asset, and Lee got on board early when it came to an appreciation of blockchain technology.
Like many people who were exploring Bitcoin at that time as a potential investment, Lee began his cryptocurrency career as a Bitcoin miner. Along the way he met Bitcoin insiders which included developers that had worked on Bitcoin’s blockchain client software. It wasn’t long before Lee decided to take his own stab at creating a digital token by using Bitcoin as a model.
Litecoin is Born
Charlie Lee was not the only software developer at the time who envisioned creating the own cryptocurrency. Many developers had the same idea: build a better Bitcoin. All of them wanted to create a cryptocurrency that improved upon areas where Bitcoin was lacking.
By 2011 Lee had created a cryptocurrency called Fairbix, but the experience gave him a hard lesson. Software bugs and mining issues left the token vulnerable to a so-called 51% attack. The project might have failed but it gave Lee faith in his own Proof Of Work protocol that would ultimately be used in the project for which he is best known, Litecoin.
Litecoin was released soon after Fairbix. It garnered attention for directly addressing what many saw as problems in the Bitcoin environment. Improvements to the hashing protocol, transaction processing time, and the max supply of tokens were all matters that Litecoin successfully tackled.
Lee has never seen Litecoin as a Bitcoin competitor. Instead he views it as an alternative. It has even been called the silver to Bitcoin’s gold.
Lee Sells His Litecoin
Despite the positive innovations that Lee and Litecoin brought to the table, the token failed to meet the expectations of many. Today it remains the 7th largest crypto token in terms of market cap, but the value has still not recovered after retreating from a peak of about $300. Lee was one of many that thought the token would go much higher.
Lee was criticized by some and heralded by others for selling his Litecoin at the peak, but in his opinion Litecoin was poised to go much higher. He has stated that he thought the token could go to $1,000. Nevertheless, Lee managed to unload his own supply at the right time.
The story reinforces something that Lee has said himself many times. No one knows where the price of Bitcoin and other crypto tokens are going at any point in time. All that anyone can do is speculate.
Charlie Lee Today
Lee remains passionate about the future of cryptocurrency. He has managed to keep a good attitude even though some have recently accused Lee of project abandonment. Many are concerned that development of Litecoin has come to a halt. Lee disputes the claim, stating that there were no planned code commits scheduled for 2019.
He also insists that work on the project has been continuing, albeit quietly. The latest version of the Litecoin Core was released in May of 2019, but the commits were done in 2018. This gave people the impression that Litecoin developers had stopped working entirely in 2019.
This kind of controversy is rare for Charlie Lee. He is not the kind of person that often receives negative attention for his work with crypto. That can’t be said for all big crypto players. Roger Ver is only one example of someone who seems to thrive on controversy. Lee is the opposite. He seems to be someone that prefers to stick to the shadows in the main, surfacing only when he feels a need to add his voice to a subject of debate.
It is hard to believe that Charlie Lee will cease being a champion for cryptocurrency. Litecoin is not likely to be his final project. It is innovators like Lee who will be responsible for something more important that the creation of tokens. They will change how the world views, earns, and spends money.