Created way back in 2014 by the crypto prodigy Dan Larimer, BitShares (BTS) is one of the oldest blockchain projects, as it used to go by the name of ProtoShares (with the adjacent PTS token).
The platform’s main goal is to facilitate financial transactions and interactions in a decentralized matter via a technologically advanced exchange that supports both the creation of cryptocurrencies and trading. In short, it was designed to help all those around the globe who don’t have direct access to classic financial services.
Essentially, BitShares provides a unique opportunity for the “unbanked” to become their very own banks thanks to secure and decentralized tools backed up by blockchain technologies.
Everything about Graphene
Another interesting fact is that BitShares is based on Graphene, an open source, C++ blockchain implementation designed to act as a consensus mechanism. You can see some of Graphene’s real-world utility behind projects such as Steemit.com and PeerPlays.com.
One noteworthy fact is that Graphene can handle as much as 100.000 transactions per second and has a block time of just 1.5 seconds. Hence, BitShares is able to handle more transactions each second than the MasterCard and Visa financial services combined. To this day, BitShares still holds the record for the largest number of transactions in a single day, somewhere around 920.000 transactions were recorded on September 13, 2017.
BitShare’s Decentralized Asset Exchange
The BitShares exchange was designed to ensure the protection of all its transactions, without having the typical trading and withdrawal limits. It’s one of the cheapest exchanges out there and all traders have equal rights and advantages.
On the BitShares decentralized exchange, you can swiftly and cheaply trade two types of assets: smartcoins and user-issued assets.
To put it into perspective, these crypto-based assets track real-world assets such as the US dollar, also known as bitUSD. Regarding the smartcoins, note that these coins are programmed to always be approximately the same value as their representative asset’s real-world value. They always mirror their associated fiat value. For instance, one bitUSD is designed to have the same value as one US dollar.
User-issued assets are created by the platform’s users. Anyone who owns BTS can issue their own asset. These assets are custom tokens that can be registered on the platform. The best part is that users are provided with full control over how they create these assets, as they can choose their associated structure as well as their value. Whoever creates an asset must also specify the name, distribution, description, and other required information.
The exchange includes support for assets that track inflation, stocks, bonds, and even indexes. You can trade virtually anything, provided that your asset has enough interest. A few relevant examples are cryptocurrencies, fiat currencies, gold, gas, oil, and other precious materials.
Decentralized Autonomous Companies (DACs)
BitShares’ internal administration is controlled by a so-called Decentralized Autonomous Company (DAC), a framework specifically designed to help BitShares holders decide the future of BTS. BitShares itself can be considered a DAC, as it’s designed to ensure enough compensation for all the people involved in developing the platform.
Any member can essentially become an employee, as BitShares coin holders can decide how the funds will be allocated within the platform. The more coins someone has staked, the higher their vote is going to be weighed. There are three types of workers: witnesses, delegates, and workers.
Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS)
The first type of workers, the witnesses, are the ones getting paid to process transactions and to secure the network. The delegates, on the other hand, are unpaid, but they hold their position based on their contributions, meaning that they can propose various updates for the platform as a whole. Finally, the workers are the ones who can propose projects and, if and when their projects get voted, they start getting paid to go forward with their development.
To further simplify everything: witnesses do the “heavy-lifting,” witnesses and workers are paid by the blockchain, and witnesses are held accountable.
Traditional Proof of Work (PoW) (as used by most cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin included) is already considered an outdated solution since it uses substantial computing resources. BitShares uses a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) consensus model. It’s designed to improve upon the design of Proof of Stake (PoS) and to eliminate the need for a PoW model.
Scheduled Payments on BitShares
One noteworthy advantage that BitShares has over other smart contract platforms is its support for scheduled payments which allows you to set up an authorized withdrawal from your account. Better yet, the platform also boasts support for recurring payments, making monthly subscription payments seem like a walk in the park.
All you have to do in order to set up recurring payments is to grant withdrawal permissions and choose the withdrawal limit per period.
Referral Reward Program
Similar to most blockchain platforms, BitShares also offers a referral program with rewards. It’s designed to benefit the platform and anyone already on the network who manages to bring more people in, so to speak. The program grants you $80 USD for each Lifetime Member you sign up. The $80 USD are from the $100 USD fee each Lifetime Member has to pay when they sign up.
BitShare’s public representative is Dan Larimer, its creator. As previously mentioned, BitShares is a DAC, so it’s not surprising that there’s very little known about the rest of the team. In theory, practically any user actively engaging with the platform through creation, voting, staking, and development is a member.
How to buy BitShares BTS
You can purchase BTS on the BitShares Asset Exchange itself by trading any other cryptocurrency for it, or directly from some of the most popular exchanges. These include ZB.COM, Binance, Huobi, Poloniex, Gate.io and many others.
Conclusions and involved risks
BitShares is without a shadow of a doubt a very powerful platform based on a well-thought-out architecture and which offers its users a lot of useful decentralized financial services. It provides its users with the possibility of issuing smartcoins (bitAssets), it has the potential to handle more than 100.000 transactions per second, and it adds a needed governance layer via its Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) algorithm.
However, no token is currently immune from radical drops in value. The risk of a “Black Swan Event” is still very much present and, in case it will happen, the platform could potentially lose the ability to conduct stable transactions on a large scale.
If nothing else, BitShares is a true statement that businesses can actually be conducted using a decentralized method. However, it’s an experimental technology, so there’s still a long way to go until BitShares becomes insusceptible to such unforeseen events, FUDs, and even security breaches and attacks.
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