Why Did the Founder of Litecoin Just Sell All of His Own Cryptocurrency?

It's not as bad as it sounds ... probably.

Flickr / btckeychain

The founder of the world’s fifth biggest cryptocurrency announced early Wednesday morning that he had sold his entire holdings of the currency he created.

That might sound like bad news, perhaps even reason to panic, for Litecoin, which former Google employee Charlie Lee created in 2011 to serve as a more accessible cryptocurrency, like the silver to bitcoin’s gold. But Lee revealed his thinking in a Reddit post, one that stressed this move was entirely to avoid what he saw an otherwise unsolvable perception problem.

“[I]t is [a] conflict of interest for me to hold LTC and tweet about it because I have so much influence,” Lee wrote. “I have always refrained from buying/selling LTC before or after my major tweets, but this is something only I know. And there will always be a doubt on whether any of my actions were to further my own personal wealth above the success of Litecoin and crypto-currency in general.”

The crux of Lee’s argument is that he has to tweet about important Litecoin-related events, and the changes in the price of LTC are among the most important. As the single most influential voice on all things Litecoin, Lee says he can’t help but affect the price with his comments — or, at the least, face accusations that he is attempting to manipulate the price with his tweets.

“And whenever I tweet about Litecoin price or even just good or [bad] news, I get accused of doing it for personal benefit,” he wrote. “Some people even think I short LTC!”

This isn’t a problem that the world’s biggest cryptocurrency has: Bitcoin’s creator, known only as Satoshi Nakamoto, remains unknown, meaning no one individual can wield outsize influence over public perception of that cryptocurrency.

Lee revealed he has sold or donated all his LTC, except for a few stored in physical Litecoin as souvenirs. He said his total holdings were not a significant enough amount for the selloff to affect the market. So far, that appears to be the case, as his announcement has not had a noticeable impact on the cryptocurrency’s price.

“I’m not quitting Litecoin,” he wrote, in part to assure those worried this really did represent a loss of faith in the cryptocurrency he created. “I will still spend all my time working on Litecoin. When Litecoin succeeds, I will still be rewarded in lots of different ways, just not directly via ownership of coins. I now believe this is the best way for me to continue to oversee Litecoin’s growth.”

If you liked this article, check out this video about Litecoin’s creator, a meme-loving Internet Dad.