If you want to learn about the Cryptocurrency, how it evolved in the last few years, and who are the people behind the rise of cryptocurrencies, one of the first questions you need to ask is who is Charlie Lee?
Charlie Lee is the man behind one of the earliest derivatives of the Bitcoin, the Litecoin. He was one of the many computer scientists that jumped on the cryptocurrency bandwagon back in the early 2010s. At the time, not many people knew or expected cryptocurrencies to be so valuable but he believed in the concept. Which is why he kept working on something that later emerged as Litecoin, a popular cryptocurrency.
So the simple answer to the question, who is Charlie Lee is – he is founder and the actual mind behind the sixth largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Litecoin.
Lee enjoys celebrity status in the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Still, many people wonder who is Charlie Lee? His journey towards making Litecoin is an inspirational one as he failed once but did not give up.
Today, even when Litecoin may not be as big as Bitcoin or Ethereum, but it still enjoys a highly loyal group of supporters and is quickly climbing up the ladder in the ever-changing world of cryptocurrency.
Charlie Lee’s Early Life
Charlie Lee was born to Chinese immigrant parents in the West African nation of Ivory Coast. His parents moved there in the 60s when Africa was getting rid of the colonial rule, and the economies were opening up to the world. However, he only spent his early childhood in Africa.
When he was 13 years old, his parents moved to the United States.
Education: He went to Lawrenceville High School in Lawrenceville, Illinois. In 1995, he graduated from high school and went on to attend the prestigious college Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In college, his major was Computer Science, and he earned back to back undergraduate and graduate degrees. He completed his Masters in Computer Science in 2000.
Early Professional Life
A bright student like Lee could only end up at some of the best tech companies in the country, and that is exactly what happened. After graduating from MIT, Lee found a job as a Software Engineer at Kana Communications. He worked there for three years until he joined Guidewire Software. At that company, he worked for four years and left in mid-2007.
Working at Google
In 2007, Lee started working at Google as a Software Engineer. He worked on a number of quintessential Google projects like Chrome OS and YouTube Mobile. It was around this time that he first came across Bitcoin and got interested in the idea of cryptocurrency.
Before being involved in cryptocurrency, he was interested in the gold trade. It is very much clear now that as much as he was interested in Computer Science, he was also equally interested in trade and economics. He worked at Google for 5five years after which he left the company to pursue his career in blockchain and cryptocurrency full time.
The Beginning in the Cryptocurrency World
Lee has repeatedly disclosed that he got involved in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency while he was at Google. Initially, he started mining Bitcoin much like other developers who came across this new digital currency. He bought his first Bitcoin after correspondence with Mike Hearn, one of the developers behind the blockchain for Bitcoin.
As Charlie Lee himself was an experienced Software Engineer, he decided to create his own cryptocurrency. He was not alone though as many developers were trying to copy the idea of Bitcoin, but he succeeded when many failed. However, he also experienced his own share of failures before he found the success in the form of Litecoin.
Who is Charlie Lee? Founder of Fairbix
You may know Charlie Lee from Litecoin but that was not his first cryptocurrency creation. His first project was called Fairbix. When Bitcoin first came out, it was all the rage among developers around the world. They were trying to produce the next blockchain-based payment system.
Fairbix was cloned from Tenebix – a cryptocurrency released a year prior to Fairbix. Lee and several other developers cloned the source code and made few changes for Fairbix.
The only thing common between Fairbix and Litecoin is the proof-of-work consensus protocol. Fairbix did not fare so well from the beginning. About 8 million Fairbix were pre-mined initially. This followed a lot of bad press. It tanked within a few weeks of release. The cryptocurrency community and enthusiast were not buying the idea behind Fairbix.
Fairbix was supposed to be fairly distributed alternative to the currency it was cloned from. It was also based on the same proof-of-work algorithm as was the case in Tenebix. But Tenebix started with only 100 pre-mined blocks before it was released to the public. With Fairbix having nearly 8 million pre-mined coins, it was bound to fail.
Fairbix’s failure became even more permanent when an unknown attacker carried out a 51% attack on its network. The attacker stole 1500 blocks. This basically destroyed the value of Fairbix and ended its small journey.
Who is Charlie Lee? Founder of Litecoin
Fairbix was a failure, but that did not stop Lee. He learned his lessons from the mistakes he made with Fairbix and decided to improve his strategy. He was not ready to abandon his part to play in the creation of cryptocurrency economy.
Just under one month from Fairbix, Lee released another cryptocurrency the Litecoin. He cloned the core source code of Bitcoin and made adjustments to improve the system. Bitcoin was not without its faults, and Lee tried to get rid of those with Litecoin. He changed the hashing protocol, the GUI, the average block transaction time, and total maximum supply cap value. He managed to create a truly effective alt-coin.
Bitcoin uses the SHA256 algorithm for hashing protocol. Litecoin, however, uses the Scrypt-based algorithm. This change also affected the transaction time and reduced it by 75 percent. Now, the block transaction time on average was just 2 and half minutes. The maximum supply of Litecoin is 84 million which was much higher than that of Bitcoin.
Charlie Lee: A Visionary
It was during his days at Google that Lee lost faith in the Federal Reserve and how money was traded in the world. It was only natural for him to jump into cryptocurrency and create Litecoin, even after failing once. He once said:
“I believe that cryptocurrency will take over fiat currency and become the reserve currency.”
So, the answer to who is Charlie Lee is, he is a visionary, a man who refuses to accept failure. Even when he faced failure in the form of Fairbix, he never bowed down to difficulties he faced.
Lee holds that Litecoin is not a competitor of Bitcoin. His vision of Litecoin is sort of a digital currency that is suited best for small transactions like online shopping. You could use this currency to buy coffee or order a new shirt. Bitcoin, as you know, is better for international trade and payments. He said in an interview once:
“I wanted to create something that is kind of silver to Bitcoin’s gold”
He quadrupled the supply from 21 million to 84 million to make the Litecoin more accessible. Also, the GUI saw significant improvements to make the system more user-friendly.
He created Litecoin while he was still at Google. 2 years after the release of Litecoin, he finally left Google. His new cryptocurrency took some time but started getting some traction in the cryptocurrency industry.
Litecoin succeeded because it was based on the idea of fairness. Only the Genesis block and two blocks after that were pre-mined. It was evident from the very beginning of Litecoin that Lee had finally cracked the code of a successful cryptocurrency.
When it was released in 2013, user base was growing in the thousands. Obviously, this led to an increase in value and the over market cap. It was only a matter of time that the market cap increased and was in billions of dollars.
Work at Coinbase
Lee joined Coinbase in 2013 in the capacity of Engineering Manager. Coinbase is the most popular digital currency exchange out there. He worked at Coinbase when there were very few people. His position was changed to Director of Engineering in his tenure at Coinbase. In this capacity, he was in charge of security and privacy operations. He left the company in the summer of 2017. Now, Litecoin is his sole focus.
Litecoin is an ongoing full-time job for Lee who currently serves as the Managing Director at the Litecoin Foundation. His primary job is to oversee development of Litecoin. We have already seen many improvements since its start.
Who is Charlie Lee? A Social Media Influencer
Charlie Lee’s twitter account has over half a million followers and the number keeps growing as more people become familiar with him and his cryptocurrency. Since he has an avid following on social media, he is sometimes accused of leading the market because of his tweets and comments.
Who is Charlie Lee? A Litecoin Founder with No Litecoins
Litecoin went mainstream and the price increased when Litecoin was finally allowed in Coinbase in 2017. Lee, however, decided to sell all of his Litecoins and donate the money to his foundation. He did not want any conflict of interest. He writes after people accused him of using his social media influence to lead the market in favor of Litecoin:
This move was also met with criticism with some claiming that this move was actually in his own personal interest. A Twitter cryptocurrency investigator was behind these accusations, Bitfenex’ed. The same used his leaving Coinbase as a proof that he indeed dumped all his coins to make money.
However, Lee debunked the theories in the series of explanatory tweets later.
There are supporters as well that believe his decision was adequate and ethical. They believe it was what was best for Litecoin. If you take a look at Litecoin’s standing today it seems that it all just worked fine. Now, Lee can express his opinions and offer support to the community without coming under fire. Litecoin users now listen to him more than ever.
He still continues to hold influence and his tweets go out to tens of thousands of cryptocurrency enthusiasts. He has even come under fire for promoting other cryptocurrencies especially when he offered support to Nano.
In response, he claimed he believe there is space in the crypto world for more than one currency.
Charlie Lee Present & Future Endeavors
After Coinbase, Lee is focusing solely on Litecoin and bringing about some positive changes. Litecoin became the first ever currency to have segregated witness. It is a soft fork that ultimately reduces transaction size and therefore increases the transaction capacity. To understand this better, you should first study what fork is.
The Segwit was implemented in May 2017 during a conference called Litecoin Global Roundtable Resolution.
Lee today serves at the Litecoin Foundation that works to advance Litecoin to help improve society. They aim to use state of the art technology for this cryptocurrency and give the users what they want. They are also working on making the concepts easy to understand so that more people can take interest in cryptocurrency.
So if you look into it, he doesn’t only focus on his own cryptocurrency, he is putting effort to create a world that is more open towards the cryptocurrencies and is more familiar with the concept.
The foundation also has an active hand in the development of Litecoin. They also contribute money using Lee’s own donations and from other sources. Since Lee himself is a software engineer, he still contributes to the core developer team. His main mission in the near future is to work on Lightning Networks and Confidential Transactions.
He tweeted about this and claimed that he is excited about the expected progress by confidential transactions. He also showed his eagerness to add fungibility as a feature to Litecoin, and claims it is a possibility especially with the use of soft fork.
His vision to make Litecoin the silver to Bitcoin’s gold seems to be becoming a reality. Now, with the currency being independent of him and left only under the influence of users, it is truly decentralized.
Who is Charlie Lee – The Final Words
He is the force behind Litecoin.
He is a supporter of fair cryptocurrency and holds an avid interest in economics.
Charlie Less is a seasoned software engineer and he is a very smart thinker regardless of which side you swerve to about the controversy of his selling his Litecoins.
He is a social media influencer.
He is a genius, a visionary, and someone who is putting genuine effort to change the world.
Lee’s future plan is about making Litecoin even bigger and making sure that people soon enough use it to buy things online.
Simply put, if you’ve an interest in cryptocurrency, or Litecoin, needs advice from the industry leaders and experts, follow Charlie Lee on social media and on news.