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A long-awaited tecnological achievement has been unlocked- an atomic swap has been performed between the Bitcoin and Litecoin networks. 

Atomic swaps allow for frictionless decentralized exchange between compatible networks. The approach is a solution for decentralizing exchanges, and may create "families" of coins that grow together and allow different functionalities.

Atomic swaps work as a form of smart contract where the exchange is instant and frictionless and does not rely on a third party such as an exchange, Shapeshift or another tool. 

Litecoin has already tested atomic swaps with Decred and Vertcoin, where the Lightning network layer is also in the works. The most recent swap happened on a Bitcoin Testnet, not the actual live blockchain, as other tests have happened.

In the past few days, adding a Lightning Network layer has gained some criticisms, mainly in expectations that the secondary layer would be centralized and would swap nothing but IOUs related to cryptocurrencies. Charlie Lee dispelled those myths: 

Others point out that Lightning Network transactions would still have cryptographic proof and not undervalue the assets. In the end, how such infrastructure would work and would affect markets is a matter of wait-and-see. 

Still, there are reports that tests of atomic swaps between Bitcoin Cash and other assets have also been performed. But the technology is still far from live net deployment, for all of the coins currently involved under test conditions. 

In the past days, Litecoin rose from its lows around $55 and currently stands at $66.67 as its user base in Asia increases. Vertcoin, another coin eyeing the Lightning Network, trades around $4.30, remaining stable after a peak near $5.50. Decred hovers around $33.24, keeping some of the gains, but so far remaining in the sidelines as all eyes continue to rest on Bitcoin.