These two are different in their design and main purpose.
LTC is designed with speed and micropayments in mind. It is a cryptocurrency for daily transactions.
ETH – not intended as currency really. It’s an ecosystem to build various tokens and ecosystems off of it. The value of ETH is based on DAO built on top of it. And with that, various tokens that will simply be ETH backed.
The main difference is that Ethereum has an easy smart contract system, whereas litecoin – just like bitcoin, has primarily a role of a currency, medium of exchange and store of value.
Litecoin – LTC
Litecoin is a fork from bitcoin’s code with some twists, for example, it is faster, every block gets processed every (in average) 2.5 minutes, while bitcoin takes 10min (in avg). Also due to Segwit each litecoin’s block has the capacity of 2mb, therefore currently Litecoin has a capacity of processing 8mb every 10 minutes meanwhile Bitcoin can only process 2mb. Litecoin wants to be the coin for everyday transactions.
Litecoin is basically bitcoin but with 2.5min blocks.
Charlie Lee (founder of LTC) stated it himself that he envisions Bitcoin being a store of wealth while LTC is used for your small transactions like coffee and everyday purchases. The vision is to have BTC and LTC run in parallel building off of each other.
There doesn’t need to be just one winner. One coin can’t do everything.
So, to put it creatively …
If Bitcoin 1.0 is Windows 98 then Litecoin is Windows XP. Litecoin runs Bitcoin 2.0, this is; Faster, More secure, Cheaper to transact, Vastly larger capacity, Backwards compatible to Bitcoin 1.0 and Future technology ready (lightning, mast, atomic swap..). Litecoin has been running since 2011 and has a very big capacity so you won’t have problems of slow and expensive transactions like you had with Bitcoin 1.0. New applications that use Litecoin’s enhanced capabilities are in the process are being developed and because of the huge number of things you’re going to be able to do I think it’s the most exciting digital currency.
LTC has a bright future. It’s community is passionate and mature, the developers and association are dedicated and competent.
Ethereum – ETH
Ethereum is basically a computer running on a blockchain.
They have designed a Turing-complete scripting language on the Ethereum network, which makes it much easier and convenient for programmers to actually start building programmable money. Through Ethereum, it is now possible to write Smart Contracts (programmable money) and that for any currency you wish, including Bitcoin. Ethereum has been built from the ground up, so it doesn’t need to carry the burden of the imperfections in the bitcoin protocol, but can improve on the ideas itself instead.
Here are some of the upgrades that are currently in development:
- Scalability improvements – makes 1,000,000+ transfers per second possible. Ethereum can currently handle about 15 transactions per second, while Bitcoin is limited to around 7.
- Anonymous transactions – Zk-SNARKs will dramatically improve privacy by enabling completely anonymous transactions.
- Transition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake – This will prevent miner centralization, protect against 51% attacks, and decrease the inflation rate.
The Ethereum protocol is continuously evolving, there are myriad applications in development, and the user base is exploding.
ETH’s two most important differences from LTC: support for smart contracts and ERC20 tokens. That enables creation of the ecosystem of services using ETH as a “fuel” which leads to its price appreciation.