A movie still showing the then teenage actors Daniel Radcliffe (M), Emma Watson (L) and Rupert Grint in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, released by Warner Brothers in 2004 as the third instalment in the popular movie series. The Litecoin Foundation says it is working on a protocol named after the 'Mimblewimble' spell from the same series. Photo: EYEPRESS / AFP

Cryptocurrency markets had a rare surge of positive momentum over the weekend as $10 billion was pumped back into the digital asset sector. Bitcoin led the charge as usual, but it was its smaller sibling Litecoin that really made a move.

Litecoin (LTC) is an offshoot of the original Bitcoin blockchain that was “hard forked”– or split–  back in 2011 to create a ‘lighter’ and faster version of its big brother. It shot up to giddy heights during the 2017 crypto surge and exceeded $350 from a low of just $4 at the beginning of the year.

Founder Charlie Lee sold off LTC holdings at the market peak in December which many have said caused the coin to crash. However the truth might be, as Lee himself argues, that the coin fell in line with the rest of the crypto market which has lost over 80% since this time last year.

On Friday the market started to pick up across the crypto asset sector, which went onto have its best day’s performance so far this year. Litecoin saw a surge of almost 40% from $33 to $46 in just over a day and this increased its market capitalization to over $2.5 billion. After Friday’s trading it became, by market volume, the fourth largest cryptocurrency.

The momentum has largely come from a partnership with a company called Beam which develops privacy based protocols for blockchain based tokens. The Litecoin Foundation will be working with Beam on a protocol named after a Harry Potter spell that prevents people telling secrets. According to last week’s announcement Mimblewimble (MW) will “add privacy and fungibility to Litecoin by allowing on-chain conversion of regular LTC into a Mimblewimble variant of LTC and vice versa.”

In addition to confidential transactions and the ability for users to encrypt transaction data, the developments will also improve token fungibility, or interchangeability. This would allow equivalent tokens to be interchangeable with no losses, something currently missing from leading digital currencies. Lee added a note to this effect on his twitter account last month. “Fungibility is the only property of sound money that is missing from Bitcoin & Litecoin’ wrote Lee. “Now that the scaling debate is behind us, the next battleground will be on fungibility and privacy.”

The developments have literally revived Litecoin and sent it soaring over the weekend. Additionally LTC has been one of the better performing crypto assets so far this year, going up 45% since January first. Bitcoin conversely has declined 2.5% over the same period.

Crypto endured a terrible year in 2018 but the market seems to be indicating that the strongest projects will survive and go on to greater things. The recent development seems to show that Litecoin, a stalwart of the nascent industry, is one that is here to stay.

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