Atomic swaps are all the rage among cryptocurrencies right now, by the looks of things. After a successful swap between Litecoin and Decred, we have seen similar projects focus on Ethereum and Bitcoin. Amid all of this is Viacoin, an altcoin which also wants to get involved in cross-chain atomic swaps. A new feature has been introduced as part of its Clearinghouse tool to help make this become a reality.

Viacoin Introduces Atomic Swap Functionality

Contrary to what most people think, the purpose of Viacoin is not necessarily to be part of an atomic swap itself. It is certainly possible we will see Viacoin-to-other-altcoin swaps in the near future, but for now, that is not necessarily the team’s objective. Instead, the developers are expanding the Clearinghouse functionality in such a way that it can be used as a “spill” in the world of cross-chain swaps.

Viacoin’s Clearinghouse feature has always been designed to allow for peer-to-peer trading on the native blockchain. This currency is different from Bitcoin and virtually all other altcoins in the market right now. This new project also allows for a lot of innovation in the long run, including this new atomic swap-related effort. With the atomic swap implementation having been tested successfully, things are looking promising. Moreover, the developers successfully exchanged VIA for LTC in the process, which is a big first step.

Under the hood, it appears this atomic swap implementation works very similarly to the one used to swap Decred and Litecoin. That isn’t entirely surprising, considering all three of these coins share some similarities which serve to make the process quicker. It is also an on-chain swap implementation, rather than the faster off-chain method. Then again, it is certainly possible we will see off-chain atomic swaps in the future, though the latest developments will need some time to come to market first.

For now, it seems the focus is on exchanging Viacoin with “compatible” currencies, all of which also recently completed cross-chain exchanges of their own. Right now, those coins include Decred, Litecoin, and Vertcoin. This doesn’t necessarily mean we will see a Viacoin to Bitcoin swap or anything similar in the near future. However, we have learned that it is possible to exchange between blockchains with very different architectures as well, as the Zerocoin mixer is currently doing exactly that.

Moreover, due to Viacoin’s Clearinghouse implementation, it may effectively become the “bridge” between all the blockchains of the world needed to provide atomic swaps. It would be the same as converting an altcoin to Bitcoin in order to buy Ether, for example, but without having to go through a centralized platform or an intermediary. Some people may claim services such as Changelly and ShapeShift do exactly that already, yet they still require intermediaries to do so. Atomic swaps are very different in this regard.

Whether or not Viacoin can play an important role in this regard remains to be seen. The possibility is there for the taking, even though the end goal is still to complete atomic swaps between all different currencies directly. It may take months, or even years, until that becomes feasible. Until then, we will need some form of a temporary solution, and Clearinghouse may be the way to go in that regard. It is an interesting development to keep an eye on; that much is certain.