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LTC - mining
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Litecoin - A Year without Mining?

Published, 21 June, 2021

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LTC - mining
EIP-1559--the Ethereum protocol proposal to burn supply and turn ETH into ultrasound money--has underpinned one of the most powerful ETH price moves since 2017 on the march from $1,400 to $4,200. An alternative version of this narrative may now be coming to Litecoin on the demand side. Litecoin faces a potential demand surge of ~2.5% of its market cap (~$270mm) over the next twelve months. The driver? Grayscale Litecoin Trust repurchases.
The Grayscale Litecoin Trust (ticker “LTCN”) began trading in August 2020 at a premium-to-spot north of 1,000%. This drove arbitrageurs to borrow LTC from lenders (Genesis, BlockFi, Galaxy, Celsius, etc.), use those coins to subscribe for the trust, and then wait 12 months for the newly-issued shares to season. As those shares begin to season over the coming months, these same arbitrageurs will sell their LTCN shares and repurchase LTC coins with the proceeds to repay their loans, collapse the premium spread, and hopefully turn a profit higher than their cost-of-capital.
Although Grayscale repurchases have long been part of broader market flows for BTC and ETH, this Litecoin repurchase period may be particularly interesting due to a confluence of bullish factors for spot:
  • The subscriptions were done in H2 2020, at a time when the Grayscale premium arbitrage trade was performing particularly well, and thus sized aggressively
  • Unlike the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (ticker: “GBTC”) and even the Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ticker: “ETHE”), the majority of LTCN subscribers were possibly arbitrage-driven with few long-only investors, meaning most could buy LTC back rather than holding LTCN shares
  • The spot price of LTC has gone up almost 2x from the average subscription price of ~$90 per LTC, creating at least ~2x the buy pressure from the unwind of the trade
  • LTC is well below both its 2017 and 2021 high-water marks, and barely broke its 2017 all-time high in 2021 (by $14), even though it experienced a halving in 2019
  • Although not directly related, LTC is often merge-mined with DOGE, which has experienced an uptick in buying interest
Coincidentally, the LTC repurchases are scheduled to begin around the same time as ETH’s EIP-1559, with the first significant batch in July, August, September, followed by the largest batch in December.
litecoinchart
Source: Grayscale, BlockFi
Given the amount of forced buying pressure relative to market cap (~2.3%) this demand may cancel out up to 7 months of LTC mining emissions starting in July of this year. And the more the price of LTC goes up between now and the first repurchases in July, the larger the amount of the repurchases could become. 
Is Litecoin about to experience what it’s like to have a year without mining?
Reach out to the BlockFi Prime Trading Desk at institutions@blockfi.com to discuss potential solutions for your crypto trading activity.
This communication is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. This communication is intended for the institutional clients who have received it directly from BlockFi and may not be further distributed without BlockFi’s consent. Information contained herein has been compiled by BlockFi from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to its accuracy, completeness or correctness.  
Clients should assume that this document is not independent of BlockFi's proprietary interests. BlockFi trades, and will continue to trade, the cryptocurrencies covered by this document for its own account and its clients.  Such trading interests may be contrary to or entered into in advance of this document.
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Last updated on June 21st, 2021

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Digital currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and crypto accounts held with BlockFi are not subject to FDIC or SIPC protections. Digital currency values are not static and fluctuate due to market changes. Not all products and services are available in all geographic areas and are subject to applicable terms and conditions. Eligibility for particular products and services is subject to final determination by BlockFi. Rates for BlockFi products are subject to change.
See BlockFi.com/terms for more information.
2021 © All Rights Reserved.