BitShares (BTS) was first introduced in a White Paper titled “A Peer-to-Peer Polymorphic Digital Asset Exchange” by Daniel Larimer, Charles Hoskinson, and Stan Larimer. It is a brand of open-source software based on the as blockchain technology as used by Bitcoin. Unlike bitcoins, which do not produce any income for their owners, BitShare can be used to launch Decentralized Autonomous Companies (DACs) which issue shares, produce profits and distribute profits to shareholders. As such, BitShares is about making profitable companies that people want to own shares in, thus creating return for the shareholders. The first DAC launched by this proces was called BitSharesX, a decentralized asset exchange based in Hong Kong. BitShares was originally launched under the name of ProtoShares (PTS); it was later renamed to BitShares (BTS) and "reloaded" in November 2014 by merging several products into BitShares (BTS).
The BitShares platform itself is run and maintained by the BitShares community–an open consortium of individuals and organizations committed to providing universal access to the power of smart contracts. Working together, this community has designed and developed the BitShares platform to include numerous innovative features which are not found elsewhere within the smart contract industry
Delegated Proof-of-Stake Consensus
Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS) is a new method of securing a crypto-currency’s network. DPOS attempts to solve the problems of both Bitcoin’s traditional Proof of Work system, and the Proof of Stake system of Peercoin and NXT. DPOS implements a layer of technological democracy to offset the negative effects of centralization.
Delegated proof of stake mitigates the potential negative impacts of centralization through the use of witnesses (formaly called delegates). A total of N witnesses sign the blocks and are voted on by those using the network with every transaction that gets made. By using a decentralized voting process, DPOS is by design more democratic than comparable systems. Rather than eliminating the need for trust all together, DPOS has safeguards in place the ensure that those trusted with signing blocks on behalf of the network are doing so correctly and without bias. Additionally, each block signed must have a verification that the block before it was signed by a trusted node. DPOS eliminates the need to wait until a certain number of untrusted nodes have verified a transaction before it can be confirmed.
This reduced need for confirmation produces an increase in speed of transaction times. By intentionally placing trust with the most trustworthy of potential block signers, as decided by the network, no artificial encumbrance need be imposed to slow down the block signing process. DPOS allows for many more transactions to be included in a block than either proof of work or proof of stake systems. DPOS technology allows cryptocurrency technology to transact at a level where it can compete with the centralized clearinghouses like Visa and Mastercard. Such clearinghouses administer the most popular forms of electronic payment systems in the world.
In a delegated proof of stake system centralization still occurs, but it is controlled. Unlike other methods of securing cryptocurrency networks, every client in a DPOS system has the ability to decide who is trusted rather than trust concentrating in the hands of those with the most resources. DPOS allows the network to reap some of the major advantages of centralization, while still maintaining some calculated measure of decentralization. This system is enforced by a fair election process where anyone could potentially become a delegated representative of the majority of users.