Charlie Lee is considered as a celebrity within the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology community. He is responsible for creating one of the earliest Bitcoin derivative cryptocurrencies, Litecoin, just after two years of Bitcoin creation. Until today, Litecoin has remained one of the top-rated cryptocurrencies in terms of both price and market capitalization. In this article, we’ll take a look at who Lee is and how his experience has helped to shape Litecoin today.
Born in Ivory Coast where he lived until the age of 13, Charlie Lee moved with his family from the African country to the United States. He attended the Lawrenceville High School where he graduated in the year 1995. For college, Charlie attended the prestigious MIT where he studied Computer Science, undertaking back-to-back Bachelor’s and Master’s degree program. By 2000, he graduated with a Master’s degree in the field of Computer Science.
With a high interest in technology, Charlie worked for a number of tech companies for more than a decade. Many of them were even notable such that Guidewire Software and even Google where he was a software engineer for 5 years working on YouTube Mobile, Chrome OS, and Play Games.
His story with Bitcoin started in April 2011 when he read an article posted on Silk Road. After using and mining Bitcoin, Charlie believes that an alternative currency must exist. The problem with most of the altcoins existing at that time was the poor development and the fact that they are pre-mined coins, according to his opinion. As a consequence, he decided to create a new altcoin. His first attempt wasn’t a success. In fact, in September 2011, while working with Google, he and other members of the development team cloned the Tenbrix source code and made a few adjustments to create a new altcoin under the name of Fairbrix. The project had a lot of issues. 7 million Farbrix coin were pre-mined prior to its release, which created a problem in the project community. In addition, the multicoin client had major software bugs which made Faibix attackable.
After less than a month from this failed release, Charlie Lee released Litecoin. This time,he cloned the core Bitcoin source code, followed by, making a number of adjustments that he felt needed in order to improve Bitcoin problems. As a matter of example, he changed the hashing protocol, the average block transaction time, the GUI, and the total maximum supply cap value.
Unlike the SHA256 algorithm used on Bitcoin, Litecoin hashing protocol uses a Scrypt-based algorithm. Consequently, this reduced transaction time by almost 75%. Moreover, Charlie increased the maximum supply of Litecoin to 84 million LTC, exactly 4 times the value of the Bitcoin supply cap at 21 million BTC.
Despite sharing some core similarities with Bitcoin, Charlie always confirms that Litecoin will never be a Bitcoin competitor, but it’s more of a complementary cryptocurrency to Bitcoin.
He affirms that LTC is the cryptocurrency for a smaller and lightweight transaction by excellence (example: online retail shopping. On the other hand, Bitcoin is more about heavyweight transactions like international payments.
After 2 years of launching Litecoin, Charlie left Google to go work at Coinbase. He was one of the first people that were hired to work at Coinbase back to 2013. He worked for 2 years as an engineering manager. Later, he worked another 2 years as a Director of Engineering. In June 2017, Charlie decided to leave Coinbase in order to work full time on Litecoin.
Currently, Lee is the managing director of the Litecoin Foundation where he is focusing on the development of the Litecoin cryptocurrency.
During mid-2018, while Litecoin has seen major success, rumors began to circulate that Lee was planning on leaving his own cryptocurrency. From his side, Lee stated that he is certain of leaving the project in the future because he believes it will prevent litecoin from being fully decentralized. This philosophy impacted his actions. Actually, by the end of 2017 Lee has divested himself of his entire holdings in the cryptocurrency by selling and donating, in order to remove all suspicions of “conflict of interest”. At that time, Lee said “For the first time in 6+ years, I no longer own a single LTC that’s not stored in a physical Litecoin,”
His love for blockchain and the development of Litecoin led the crypto community to speculate that Charlie Lee could be Satoshi Nakamoto. Ironically, at that time Lee tweeted that he is not Satoshi using his account that is named @SatoshiLite.
Before this gets too out of hand… No, I'm definitely not Satoshi Nakamoto. 😞 https://t.co/8Faywxm6vF
— Charlie Lee [LTC⚡] (@SatoshiLite) June 27, 2017