It might sound surprising, but for the creator of the world's fourth-largest cryptocurrency, the project was until recently only a part-time job.
That finally changed this June, when Charlie Lee, who created the litecoin project while working at Google in 2011, finally left his day job at cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, where he had served as director of engineering since 2013. Last year, Lee had cut his hours to work more on the alternative cryptocurrency, but it was a major technological upgrade in May that finally convinced him to go full time.
That's when the cryptocurrency, long affectionately known as the "silver to bitcoin's gold," made a comeback after years of decline and inactivity, activating a code upgrade called Segregated Witness (SegWit) that was originally proposed for bitcoin.
As it started to look likely that the cryptocurrency would activate the change, the public blockchain saw a burst in developer activity, a hike in price and renewed attention in the press and on social media. Some developers saw litecoin as a possible testing ground for ideas that might one day be adopted on bitcoin.
Notably, a few Lightning Network projects demoed transactions to show how a bug fix that SegWit provides can increase transaction capacity, and a long-time bitcoin developer even started contributing code to the project.
While the initial wave of buzz has now mostly died down (migrating back to bitcoin's political war over said change), developers are still quietly continuing to work on litecoin.
With this, the Litecoin Foundation was recently formed with the mission of advancing the cryptocurrency, in part by beefing up the developer team. (The Singapore-based non-profit's first full-time hire was "Shaolinfry" – a well-known pseudonymous developer.)
After joining as the second hire, Lee is now working to grow the team, telling CoinDesk the non-profit is in the process of enlisting...