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I do not understand why Litecoin's blockchain size is an order of magnitude smaller than Bitcoin's. Indeed according to this link the Bitcoin blockchain requires 196.52 GB and Litecoin's 16.55 GB.

In my expectation, the Litecoin blockchain should be bigger because the block size limit is the same, but the block interval is a quarter of the block interval of bitcoin.

Is this due to the smaller user base of Litecoin compared to Bitcoin?

  • That is a very interesting question. I wonder (but am in no position to confirm) if the LTC blocks are only as large as the transactions that they include? – Willtech May 8 '18 at 9:52
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    That's correct - blocks don't always take up the size they can take at a maximum. They will only take up as much space as needed for the transactions (which is why some blocks with only the coinbase tx are <1kb). Litecoin has also been around for less time than BTC, and has less use. – Raghav Sood May 8 '18 at 10:57
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Up until 2017, both BTC and LTC had 1 MB block limit. When SegWit was soft-forked into both protocols, the capacity increased to a hypothetical 4 MB blockweight limit.

But the limit doesn't mean every block that's produced is 1 MB. All it means is that it can not exceed 1 MB. What determines the size of the block is the size of the transactions in the block.

Let's say, the data size of a "one in" and "one out" transaction is about 200 bytes. Now let's pretend, there are 100 transactions like this that are included in a single block. That means the total size of this block would be about 2 kB. This is significantly smaller than 1 MB.

This is one of the reasons why LTC's blocksize is smaller than BTC's even though it blocks 4 times as fast. The actual blocks submitted and recorded were significantly smaller than 1 MB because there hasn't been as much activity on the network. Another reason, like D Nguyen mentioned, is that LTC was started 2 years after BTC.

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You're right, for the most part, Bitcoin and Litecoin have had the same blocksize limit of 1MB. After first Litecoin and then Bitcoin activated segwit, they now again have the same blockweight limit of 4MB.

However, that only determines the maximum size the blockchain could have had by now. We don't need to store data for unused blockspace!

Since the block header only makes up 80 bytes of data, the transaction data makes up the brunt of the blockchain. It turns out that even though Litecoin has had almost three times as many blocks (1,420,460) than Bitcoin (522,429) due to its faster interval, Litecoin has had much fewer transactions. Lately, Litecoin blocks have had an average size of 31 kB, while Bitcoin's have had about 815 kB in the past week.

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Block size depend almost on number of transactions. You should take a look on "Transactions avg.per hour", litecoin is 839 while bitcoin is 8787, ten time higher than litecoin. Furthermore, litecoin is 2 year later than bitcoin.

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