Introduced in October 2011, shortly after Namecode, Litecoin was branded as the 'silver to Bitcoin's gold.' While fundamentally similar in code and functionality to Bitcoin, Litecoin differs from Bitcoin in several essential ways. It allows mining transactions to be approved every 2 1/2 minutes, to Bitcoins 10 minutes, and it also allows for a total of 84 million coins to be created - exactly 4 times higher than Bitcoin's (and Namecon's) 21 million coins. It also uses a different proof-of-work algorithm than Bitcoin - scrypt, a sequential function that is much more memory-hard than most proof-of-work algorithms. This is supposed to make it much more difficult to generate bitcoins, as increasing memory space required for the proof-of-work algorithm reduces the mining speed, and makes it harder for any one user or group of users to dominate the blockchain.
In February 2014 the world's largest bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, declared bankruptcy. The company stated that it had lost nearly $473 million of their customers' bitcoins likely due to theft. This was equivalent to approximately 750,000 bitcoins, or about 7% of all the bitcoins in existence. The price of a bitcoin fell from a high of about $1,160 in December to under $400 in February.
By October 2009, the world’s first Bitcoin exchange was established. At the time, $1 was the equivalent of 1,309 Bitcoin. Considering how expensive Bitcoin is today, that was a real steal. Bitcoin traded at a fraction of a penny for quite some time. Things started changing in 2010; as the distribution of Bitcoin increased, the digital currency became inherently more valuable.