Litecoin is a hard fork of bitcoin. It is often referred to as silver while bitcoin is gold. Like bitcoin, litecoin is mined and has a point at which no new litecoins can be mined. However, unlike bitcoin which is capped at 21 million tokens, litecoin will have 84 million.
Litecoin is a fork of bitcoin and is better in many ways. It has a smaller community and can more easily agree on technological upgrades. Additionally, they’ve implemented a lightning network (bitcoin recently implemented one). This means transactions can be verified off chain and can therefore happen much faster than it would with bitcoin. Most importantly perhaps is the speed of the lightning network compared to bitcoin’s network. While bitcoin takes 10 mins to generate a block, litecoin takes 2.5 mins. This means transactions are verified faster on litecoin’s network than it is on bitcoin’s. Thus litecoin could more easily be used for small purchases (like coffee etc).
In addition to being a better medium of exchange, litecoin is attempting to build smart contract functionality into their platform. This would allow conditional contracts that can be executed based on different parameters depending on the platform it would be used on.
Litecoin is ultimately meant to be a better version of bitcoin. I am not sure why this currency is needed as there are many other currencies that could be used for fast payments. NEM for example is used for that purpose in Japan and has a high rate of adoption. But as we’ll continue to see, first mover advantage is huge in this space.