Life After Coinbase: Can Charlie Lee Keep Litecoin’s Revival Alive?

WeChat Image_20170711225735Coinbase之后,查理能否实现莱特币复兴

It might sound surprising, but for the creator of the world’s fourth-largest cryptocurrency, the project was until recently only a part-time job.

或许听起来让人吃惊,直到最近,对世界第四大加密货币创始人来讲,莱特币只是一项兼职。

That finally changed this June, when Charlie Lee, who created the litecoin project while working at Google in 2011, finally left his day job at cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, where he had served as director of engineering since 2013. Last year, Lee had cut his hours to work more on the alternative cryptocurrency, but it was a major technological upgrade in May that finally convinced him to go full time.

今年六月,莱特币创始人查理正式离开coinbase。查理自2011年在google工作起,开始创立莱特币,而后加盟coinbase担任工程总监。直至今年五月,源于一次重要的技术升级,查理开始全职投身莱特币。

That’s when the cryptocurrency, long affectionately known as the “silver to bitcoin’s gold,” made a comeback after years of decline and inactivity, activating a code upgrade called Segregated Witness (SegWit) that was originally proposed for bitcoin.

那时正是各种山寨币经过多年萎靡之后的蓄势待发的时机,一种原本为比特币打造的,被称为SegWit(Segregated Winness)的代码升级走入了公众视线。

As it started to look likely that the cryptocurrency would activate the change, the public blockchain saw a burst in developer activity, a hike in price and renewed attention in the press and on social media. Some developers saw litecoin as a possible testing ground for ideas that might one day be adopted on bitcoin.

正因为感到加密货币所可能带来的一系列变革,大批开发者涌入区块链领域,币价的飙升吸引大量媒体和社交网络的关注。一些开发者将莱特币当做一个试验田,期待其有一天能够取代比特币。

Notably, a few Lightning Network projects demoed transactions to show how a bug fix that SegWit provides can increase transaction capacity, and a long-time bitcoin developer even started contributing code to the project.

值得注意的是,最近一些闪电网络成功展示了SegWit技术的交易潜力,使得一些长期致力于bitcoin的开发者们纷纷转移注意力。

While the initial wave of buzz has now mostly died down (migrating back to bitcoin’s political war over said change), developers are still quietly continuing to work on litecoin.

With this, the Litecoin Foundation was recently formed with the mission of advancing the cryptocurrency, in part by beefing up the developer team. (The Singapore-based non-profit’s first full-time hire was “Shaolinfry” – a well-known pseudonymous developer.)

After joining as the second hire, Lee is now working to grow the team, telling CoinDesk the non-profit is in the process of enlisting “a few” developers for full-time positions.

莱特币的开发者一直行事低调,致力于推动加密货币的莱特币基金会于最近成立,正在招兵买马扩大全职开发者团队。

Fast and cheap

高速化与低成本

In addition to its commitment to new hires, the Litecoin Foundation recently unveiled a development roadmap that includes technical changes made possible by the SegWit activation.

莱特币基金会向新成员揭示了一系列由SegWit可能引发的技术变革。

Surprisingly, though, this isn’t necessarily Lee’s primary focus. He argued that the “most important thing” is increasing litecoin adoption among exchanges, merchants and users.

但其实,这并不是查理的初衷。他始终认为莱特币在交易,商家和使用者中的普及才是最重要的。

“I want to make sure that litecoin is traded everywhere first, then make a convincing case why companies and merchants should use litecoin when they need fast and cheap payments,” he said.

查理表示,“首先,使用莱特币作为交易媒介的普及是第一位的,进而向商业世界展示出在支付领域高速化与低成本的一面”

He cited the recent decision by content micropayments startup Yours to move its platform to litecoin as a notable “win” that suggests further progress can be made with the altcoin’s target audience.

他引用最近一家名为“Yours”的小额支付初创企业将平台转为莱特币作为一个重要的阶段性胜利,并期待未来可以拓展到更多受众。

There are still plenty technical features are in the works, though.

尽管在技术层面,还有很多值得改进的方面。

One of the most notable upcoming updates is that Bitcoin Core contributor Johnson Lau is working on is a so-called “Smart Crypto-Vault” that will finally put the smart contract idea MAST into practice. Lee said that the open-source dev team plans to release a demo of the technology soon.

最新消息,Johnson Lau, 比特币的核心开发者之一,正在着手开发智能加密钱包,这项技术最终将“MAST”理念应用于实践。查理表示,在不久的将来这个开源开发团队会向公众展示这一技术。

Lee’s other top priorities are working with Lightning Labs on a Lightning Network implementation that’s safe to use for real litecoin transactions – not just in tests. Further, he plans to integrate a privacy-focused technology known as “confidential transactions.”

查理的另一侧重点则是与闪电实验室和闪电网络的合作,尽早在实际中展示莱特币的应用价值,而不是仅限于一系列的测试。另外,查理正在计划整合一项被称为“加密交易”,针对于隐私保护的技术

Silver and gold

金和银

Given these ambitions goals, one might wonder if Lee believes litecoin could be primed to even compete with bitcoin, perhaps going so far as to specialize in market opportunities the number one cryptocurrency once sought to grab. Indeed, some onlookers view litecoin as a sandbox for experimentation, or even as some sort of a backup plan should bitcoin never adopt SegWit.

鉴于这些宏伟目标,让人不免觉得查理相信在未来的某一个时期,莱特币在实际场景的应用里会与比特币一决高下。一些观察者将莱特币看成一种沙箱实验,甚至比特币不加入SegWit的情况下成为比特币的替代品。

Lee, though, said he is motivated to work on the project because he sees a longer-term opportunity for the two cryptocurrencies, and perhaps others, to link together.

“I’m a huge proponent of bitcoin getting SegWit as soon as possible. My vision for litecoin is to have it work closely with bitcoin,” he said.

查理表示,他致力于开发莱特币的动力来源于从长远来讲,这两种货币亦或和其他加密货币联合的可能性。如果比特币得以加入SegWit,莱特币和比特币的联系将会更加紧密。

Notably, a concept called “atomic swaps” features heavily in his future vision. Once the Lightning Network is working on both bitcoin and litecoin, the addition would make it easy for users to trade between cryptocurrencies without going through an intermediary exchange – like Coinbase, in fact.

Lee concluded:

“That’s a game changer and that’s when the game really starts!”

值得一提的是,查理非常看重一个被称为“原子交换”的概念。一旦闪电网络同时适用于比特币和莱特币,这项技术将实现比特币和莱特币的互通,再不需要第三方交易平台。

查理总结说,“那个时刻才是重要的转折,游戏才真正开始”

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