Bitshares is a decentralized blockchain-based financial platform that allows its users to track rates of different crypto assets in real time and switch them between their own wallets directly. The platform is fueled by a cryptocurrency named BTS that can be used for covering the operational fees and as collateral for loans. The key advantage of this project is that users don’t have to rely on any third-party to govern their funds and can execute transactions using a network of computers that are distributed all over the world.
The project was invented and created from scratch by an American software programmer and cryptocurrency entrepreneur Daniel Larrimer in 2014 as a response to the crisis of confidence in centralizes cryptocurrency exchanges after ill-famous Mt.Gox hack. The idea came to Larrimer’s mind earlier in 2013. He invented a way to exchange cryptocurrencies without fiat deposits relying on another cryptocurrency or token as a deposit on the same blockchain. He introduced his idea to Ethereum’s co-founder Charles Hoskinson who helped him develop a business plan which they later showed to Li Xiaolai, a Chinese Bitcoin magnate. They founded a company named Invictus Innovations and in a few months after that, they presented their idea at the Atlanta Bitcoin Conference. The project went live in July 2014.
Bitshares is not a simple cryptocurrency exchange platform. As Larrimer himself describes his invention in his blog, it is a network, a bank, a ledger, an exchange, a company, community, software, and currency - all of this is combined under the hood of a single project. Finally, he names it a whole country and in fact, it really has all the needed features for that: it has a personal currency, token holders have elected their government delegating the votes via the blockchain and they obey a specific set of laws. All this is possible thanks to the following technical characteristics of the platform: Performance and scalability.
Developers claim that Bitshares is capable of processing 100,000 transactions per second. With such indices, it can even beat the world's largest financial provider VISA which handles around 1,700 TPS on a daily basis with the maximum capacity of 24,000 TPS. Decentralized asset exchange. While traditional centralized platforms store users’ funds on their own servers which often fall victims of hackers’ attacks, Bitshares is fully decentralized. Users don’t have to entrust their private keys and remain in full control over their funds.
Dynamic account permissions. Any account on the platform can be controlled by multiple users with different levels of permissions. Referral program. Users get rewarded for bringing new people to join the platform. Custom tokens. Users can issue their own assets to promote their projects and raise funds. Smartcoins. These are the coins with the value algorithmically adjusted to that of some assets (BTS in this case). It is the analogy of stable coins such as Tether that is pegged to the value of USD. A reserve pool for funding projects. The pool is made up of transaction fees. Any user can propose a project and ask the community for funding. The decision is made via public voting. Named accounts. Unlike Bitcoin or Ethereum’s unreadable wallet addresses, every user of Bitshares gets a readable account name similar to usual account names on the internet. Delegated Proof of Stake. Bitshares is based on such a consensus model where users can vote on different network parameters: block intervals, transaction fees and nodes to produce new blocks. In order to do that, they delegate their stakes to preferred block producers. In addition to all these features, Bitshares is famous for its security. It has good reputation among cryptocurrency enthusiasts and has never fallen victim of hackers’ attacks or become subject to any lawsuits.
Before Bitshares, Larrimer had launched another successful blockchain project Steemit. This is a social blogging platform where users get paid for the content they create. Also, Larrimer used his experience and implemented many of Bitshares’ features in his next successful project EOS. At the time of writing, these three projects make up the lion’s share of the overall activities across all blockchains according to Blocktivity.info.