Cryptocurrency Industry Spotlight: Who is Charlie Lee?
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
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.
In late 2017, Lee decided to sell and donate his entire stash of Litecoin. His donations went to several organizations including the Litecoin Foundation and the MIT Digital Currency Initiative (DCI). He did this in response to critics who believed he was using his notoriety to influence the market and better his position.
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.
To keep up with Charlie Lee’s most recent take in the cryptocurrency world (and see him play some poker), head to World Crypto Con in Las Vegas on October 31st to November 2nd. Use the code COINCENTRAL for 50% off tickets here.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Based in Austin, TX, Steven is the Executive Editor at CoinCentral. He’s interviewed industry heavyweights such as Wanchain President Dustin Byington, TechCrunch Editor-in-Chief Josh Constine, IOST CEO Jimmy Zhong, Celsius Network CEO Alex Mashinsky, and ICON co-founder Min Kim among others. Outside of his role at CoinCentral, Steven is a co-founder and CEO of Coin Clear, a mobile app that automates cryptocurrency investments. You can follow him on Twitter @TheRealBucci to read his “clever insights on the crypto industry.” His words, not ours.