Charlie Lee is a computer scientist best known for creating the cryptocurrency Litecoin. Born in The Ivory Coast, Lee eventually moved to the United States at the age of 13. He went on to study at MIT and graduated with a bachelor's and a master's degree in Computer Science in 2000.
After graduating, Lee went on to work at Google for almost a decade. During his time at Google, Lee has said he had helped to work on the code for Google OS as well as YouTube Mobile. During his spare time, Lee became fascinated with the potential of the Bitcoin protocol. He firstly experimented with mining the cryptocurrency before moving on to looking into its code after some conversations with Mike Hearn, a BTC Core developer.
To the surprise of many, Litecoin was not Charlie Lee’s first cryptocurrency that he released. In 2011 he had released Fairbix but this project had failed due to concerns regarding pre-mining and potential bugs that allowed for many different attack vectors. Lee eventually went on to use a bulk of this code to create Litecoin, which he released a few months later during October 2011.
Litecoin was never intended to be a competitor to Bitcoin. Instead, Lee felt that it was just an alternative that could be used for smaller transactions. The Litecoin blockchain was designed to be faster and cheaper than transactions on Bitcoin.
In July 2013, Lee started to work at Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange which eventually adopted his own cryptocurrency creation, Litecoin. Charlie left Coinbase in June 2017 with the aim to work full time on the Litecoin project.
Lee has often stated that he will eventually leave Litecoin as he believes that having a leader will prevent Litecoin reaching full decentralization. Lee has also sold all of his Litecoin holdings due to the fear of having a conflict of interest.