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As one of the earliest altcoins, Litecoin (LTC)'s reputation as a low-cost payments crypto steered it to an all-time-high price of $410.26 in May 2021.
While this has helped make LTC the #19 crypto by market cap, Litecoin is still a highly volatile asset capable of major price swings in a single day.
Today LTC is trading for $68.97, which is slightly down from yesterday's trading price of $67.21. Litecoin's seen a decrease of -11% over the past year.
So before you buy Litecoin, make sure you understand these unique risks as well as its legal, regulatory and tax status here in the US.
If you're ready to get started, read on for step-by-step instructions and a list of platforms you can use to buy Litecoin in the US.
To buy LTC all you'll need is a smartphone or computer, an internet connection, photo identification and a way to pay.
If this is your first time buying cryptocurrency you'll need to look for a platform that accepts US dollars, like Kraken or .
Don't worry too much about extra features or coins for now – you can always sign up with another exchange later.
Use the table to choose a platform that meets your needs and click the Go to site button to get started.
Litecoin (LTC) is a cryptocurrency built for payments. It enables near-instant, low-cost peer-to-peer transactions.
One of the earliest altcoins, Litecoin was launched in 2011 and was created from a copy – not to be confused with a fork – of Bitcoin's source code. Sometimes referred to as the silver to Bitcoin's gold, Litecoin's software is similar to Bitcoin's. However, compared to Bitcoin, it has:
The simpler algorithm that governs Litecoin's network allows for faster transaction processing. Transactions on the Bitcoin network can take up to hours. Depending on network congestion, transactions on Litecoin are completed within seconds.
For this reason, some think of Litecoin as a complement to Bitcoin, not a competitor. Litecoin and Bitcoin have many of the same properties, but Litecoin is often considered more of a payments technology and Bitcoin a store of value.Read our beginner's guide to how Litecoin works
To create an account with your chosen crypto platform, you only need an email address or mobile number. This will usually allow you to deposit cryptocurrency, but not USD.
If you want to buy Litecoin with US dollars, you'll need to pass a Know Your Customer (KYC) check.
This is a standard security procedure for most exchanges in the US and requires you to upload some photo ID, and in some cases a selfie with today's date.
KYC is usually approved instantly, but in rare cases, you may have to wait a few hours or days.
Once you've set up your account, you'll need to deposit funds to buy Litecoin with. We've listed out some popular ways to buy LTC and what you should know about each payment method.
Most exchanges let you buy as little as $5 worth of LTC, if not less. Just type in how much you want to spend in USD and let the exchange work out the rest.
Some platforms only offer 1 way to buy Litecoin, while others provide several choices. The 2 most common ways to buy LTC are on the spot market or with an "instant buy" feature.
If it's your first time buying Litecoin this will be the fastest method – but also the least cost-effective.
You'll usually find the instant buy section under a "Buy now" heading on the platform you've chosen.
It should feature a simple interface that lets you enter the amount of Litecoin you want to buy, or US dollars you want to spend.
This is usually the only option available for credit or debit card purchases, but you may also be able to make an instant buy if you've pre-funded your account with a bank transfer.
Be prepared to pay a markup on LTC's market rate in exchange for the convenience.
If you see colorful charts with a range of prices, you're probably in the spot market.
The spot market is where buyers and sellers come together to place bids for LTC on the open market. It's usually the cheapest way to buy Litecoin because it lets traders set their own price.
You'll find the spot market under a "Trade" or "Spot" heading on the site or app menu of the platform you've chosen to use.
There are several different order types that you can make on the spot market.
There are dozens of different trading platforms to choose from when buying Litecoin in the US, so to help you find your best option, keep these factors in mind:
Crypto exchanges founded and based in the US are required to register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a division of the US Department of the Treasury. This bureau safeguards the US financial system by working to prevent money laundering, terrorist-financing activity and other financial crimes.
FinCEN-registered exchanges contribute to a more secure financial system in the US and provide you with better consumer protections compared to exchanges based in other countries.
Other reasons for using a FinCEN-registered exchange may include the following:
You shouldn't invest in any asset, including LTC without doing plenty of research first. Before you buy Litecoin, make sure you understand and weigh up these risks:
Compare today's price of Litecoin ($68.97 USD) against its all-time high (ATH) price of $410.26 USD on May 10, 2021. The closer the bar is to 100%, the closer LTC is to reaching its ATH again.
If you hold Litecoin as an investment, you'll be taxed on any capital gains you make when you sell it — which includes spending it on goods and/or services. In the US, tax obligations also apply to mining, professional Litecoin trading and in a range of other scenarios, so make sure you're fully aware of what you need to report to the IRS.
If you want to buy Litecoin, start by comparing a range of crypto brokers and exchanges available in the US. Look at their features, fees, security and overall reputation to decide which platform is the right fit for you. Use an exchange registered with FinCEN for added peace of mind.
Remember that owning and using Litecoin is not without its risks. Carefully consider investing in LTC as part of a wider strategy, and talk to a financial advisor if you have any questions.
Once you've bought some LTC, think about what your short and long-term goals are. This will help you decide whether to keep it on an exchange, or move it to your own wallet.
The best place to purchase Litecoin depends on your needs. A good place to start your research is with our top picks.
If you are buying LTC to speculate on its price in the short term, you might want to buy it on an exchange such as Kraken or , platforms that custody the asset for you. This will let you sell your LTC at any time.
If you are buying LTC to hold it for the long term, consider buying it on an exchange and transferring it to a hardware wallet to keep the private keys safely offline.
Yes, you can purchase LTC and hundreds of other digital assets on Coinbase.
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Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies, including Litecoin, are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance of LTC is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the Litecoin or any other cryptocurrency discussed.
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