It was the first example of what we today call cryptocurrencies, a growing asset class that shares some characteristics of traditional currencies, with verification based on cryptography.
A pseudonymous software developer going by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto proposed bitcoin in 2008, as an electronic payment system based on mathematical proof. The idea was to produce a means of exchange, independent of any central authority, that could be transferred electronically in a secure, verifiable and immutable way.
The system enables payments to be sent between users without passing through a central authority, such as a bank or payment gateway. It is created and held electronically. Bitcoins aren't printed, like dollars or euros - they're produced by computers all around the world, using free software.
While the identity of the Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto is shrouded in mystery, Litecoin’s creator Charlie Lee is very active on social media and his blog. Charlie Lee is an ex-Google employee who had the vision to create a lighter version of Bitcoin.
While Bitcoin was seen as “gold” and a store of value for long-term purposes, Litecoin was seen as the “silver” and a means of a transaction for cheaper and everyday purposes. So, on October 7 2011, litecoin was released via an open-source client on GitHub. The Litecoin Network went live on October 13 2011. It is basically a fork of the Bitcoin Core client. Litecoin is the second oldest blockchain currency after Bitcoin and shares many characteristic but is noted for this faster translation times and resistance to ASIC mining systems.
Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a distributed public blockchain network. Although there are some significant technical differences between the two, the most important distinction to note is that Bitcoin and Ethereum differ substantially in purpose and capability, for example Bitcoin offers one particular application of blockchain technology, a peer to peer electronic cash system that enables online payments, with the Bitcoin blockchain is used to track ownership of digital currency i.e. bitcoins.
Ethereum blockchain focuses on running the programming code of any decentralized application or Smart Contract. In the Ethereum blockchain, instead of mining for coins miners work to earn Ether, a type of crypto token that fuels the network. Beyond a tradeable cryptocurrency, Ether is also used by application developers to pay for transaction fees and services on the Ethereum network.
Smart contract is just a phrase used to describe computer code that can facilitate the exchange of money, content, property, shares, or anything of value. When running on the blockchain a smart contract becomes like a self-operating computer program that automatically executes when specific conditions are met. Because smart contracts run on the blockchain, they run exactly as programmed without any possibility of censorship, downtime, fraud or third party interference.