Cryptocurrency Industry Spotlight: Who is Charlie Lee?

Who is Charlie Lee – Founder of Litecoin?

Whether you know him as the founder of Litecoin, Director of Engineering at Coinbase, or avid tweeter and influential crypto-personality, Charlie Lee has made a name for himself in the cryptocurrency industry. Lee has had an extensive career in software development and has been involved with blockchain technology since 2011.

The Early Years

Lee was born in the Ivory Coast to parents who had moved there from Shanghai. He spent most of his childhood there, but in his early teens, he moved to the United States. He attended the Lawrenceville School before graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a B.S. and master’s degree in Computer Science.

After college, Lee worked as a software engineer at Kana Communications, Guidewire Software, and Google before starting his crypto career.

Charlie Lee’s Entrance into Crypto

charlie lee

Lee first learned about Bitcoin through a Silk Road article in April 2011. After working with and mining Bitcoin, he knew that an alternative currency needed to exist. In his opinion, the altcoins at the time were flawed with poor development, pre-mined coins, and other issues that are still relevant today.

Enter Litecoin. In October 2011, Lee created Litecoin as a complement to Bitcoin with quicker confirmations, more coins, and a different mining algorithm. His hope is not for Litecoin to overtake Bitcoin, but to have them work together through things like the Lightning Network and Atomic Swaps to provide a better overall ecosystem.

Lee joined the Coinbase team as their third hire in July 2013. Leaving Google for this position meant that he could pursue his passion full-time and help further bring cryptocurrencies to the public eye.

Where is Charlie Lee now?

In June 2017, after four years of employment, Lee left Coinbase to work on Litecoin full-time. He’s recently taken a more vocal role in the community through interviews on stations like CNBC and, of course, his Twitter account.

Lee has spoken out against increasing the Bitcoin block size (although he’s recently stated that he’s now more open to the idea) and consistently weighs-in on discussions about other blockchain projects.

Recently, Lee decided to sell and donate his entire stash of Litecoin. He did this in response to critics who believed he was using his notoriety to influence the market and better his position.

Final Thoughts

Love him or hate him, Charlie Lee is and will continue to be an influential person in cryptocurrency. He’s paved the way for Bitcoin alternatives with Litecoin and helped to build one of the industry’s most popular exchanges. It’ll be interesting to see what Lee has planned for the community in the upcoming years.

Lee and other notable cryptocurrency leaders will be speaking at Blockchain Connect in San Francisco, CA on January 26th.

blockchain connect

If you’re interested in hearing the top leaders in the industry speak, you can get your ticket here. As a loyal reader, use the promo code “coincentral” to get 30% off the price.

CoinCentral's owners, writers, and/or guest post authors may or may not have a vested interest in any of the above projects and businesses. None of the content on CoinCentral is investment advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified financial planner.

Steven Buchko

Steven is a managing editor at Coin Central and a blockchain investor. He's also the co-founder of Coin Clear, a mobile app that automatically turns your daily spending habits into cryptocurrency investments.