Viacoin was born in 2014 shortly after a major change occurred in Bitcoin. As you may already know some data can be stored along with a bitcoin transaction. Due to blockchain bloat the amount of information that could be stored by a bitcoin transaction was reduced to 40 bytes.
The amount of information storable is necessary for certain additional functions to work. Counterparty a financial intermediary was unable to function after Bitcoin information storage was reduced to 40 bytes.
This led to the creation of Viacoin by bitcoin core developers, BTCDrak and Peter Todd. Currently Viacoin supports 120 bytes of information to be stored. Apart from more storage Viacoin packs many interesting features.
Features of Viacoin are-
Block time: 24 seconds (25x faster than Bitcoin)
Mining reward halving: Every 6 months
Total supply: 23,176,392.414590
Mining- Viacoin can be mined along with other scrypt mined coins such as Litecoin, without impacting the hash rate of either, this is known as merged mining.
Segwit- It helps shrink the size of transactions and faster syncing across nodes. Besides enabling segwit helps set a standard protocol that in turn enables a host of other features such as atomic swaps, lightning networks.
Lightning Network- Enables instant transfers at extremely low fees, it acts as a layer on top of the main blockchain. More details on how the lightning network works can be found in this CXIHUB article.
Colored coins- The concept of colored coins comes from storing additional information along with a Bitcoin transaction. The coin is thus marked and “colored”. This colored coin which contains specific information can then represent anything such as land, stocks. Thus this is a very useful feature and can greatly enhance the value of the coin.
Atomic Swaps- They enable cross cryptocurrency exchange seamlessly, quickly and without any need to trust a party. This is processed through a decentralized exchange having a cross chain link. For example you can convert your Litecoin to Viacoin and vice versa whenever you need to.
Here is the roadmap for further developments in Viacoin this year.
Viacoin is a coin that seems only like the tip of the iceberg while encompassing a variety of features below. It will be very interesting to see how this coin grows.
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For more technical details you can find the Viacoin white paper here.