Bitshares X

Bitshares X is a Decentralized Autonomous Company (DAC) designed to function as a 'decentralized bank and exchange'. The code was developed by the Invictus Innovations company, and the block chain and client themselves were launched by DAC Sun Rises.

At the time of writing a 'light' version of Bitshares X has been released, which contains some but not all of the features which will eventually be implemented. Here is a list of the main current and planned features of Bitshares X:

  • Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS): This means that users can vote to elect 'delegates', with each person getting a voting power equal to the number of Bitshares X coins / tokens (BTSX) that they own. The top 100 delegates are then able to earn Proof of Stake revenue on all transaction fees, providing they run a node which is online when they are chosen to receive a block reward. These 100 delegates effectively form the board of directors of this decentralized autonomous company. They can choose to use the money to help develop Bitshares X or to help build up the ecosystem of services surrounding it, or they can choose to 'burn' a certain percentage of the coins they receive, which acts like a dividend for regular users by increasing the value of all the remaining coins. Regular users vote for delegates based on what they would like to see done with the DPoS earnings.
  • Market Pegged Assets: Also known by the more technical term 'Polymorphous Digital Assets'. These are digital tokens which track the price of traditional physical assets and currencies. Therefore one BitUSD, for example, is designed to have a value of one USD, whilst one BitGold is designed to have a value equal to a certain quantity of gold, such as 1 ounce for example. This is one of the most highly anticipated features of Bitshares X, but was not included in the initial release.
  • User Created Assets: This allows anyone to create their own digital asset and list it on the Bitshares marketplace. These assets could represent virtual shares – promises to pay a share of the profits – from a company, a financial investment fund, or even an individual person. They could also be used for crowdfunding and a range of other applications, in much the same way that the NXT asset exchange already functions.
  • TITAN – The acronym TITAN stands for 'Transfer Invisibly To Any Name# and refers to the in-built anonymity which characterises payments sent via the Bitshares network. Only the sender and the reciever can see who sent a transaction who received it, meaning that no third party can spy on your financial affairs.

Bitshares X Initial Distribution

The initial distribution of Bitshares X coins (BTSX) was given out to people who owned Protoshares (PTS) at the time of a February snapshot of the PTS block chain, and to people who made donations in PTS or Bitcoin to help the development of Bitshares X through the Bitshares AGS (angel shares) fund.

The Bitshares X Wallet

The Bitshares X wallet looks and works a little bit differently to other crypto currency wallets. When you download the wallet for the first time you will be required to create a password. This is then used to create an encrypted data file for your wallet.

You then need to create an 'account'. You can have multiple accounts for each wallet you have, and each one will have a public name associated with it, and will maintain its own separate balance and be able to issue payments from that balance. In order to register a name and be able to start using an account there is a small cost of 0.1 BTSX. At the time of writing this article, this registration needs to be done before you can make a withdrawal of any BTSX you may have purchased from an exchange.

Certain parts of the wallet functionality, such as the marketplace screen, have not yet been completed, so those parts of the wallet will therefore not currently contain any content.

More Details on 'Polymorphic Digital Assets'

The market pegged assets planned to be launched on Bitshares X use a kind of prediction market mechanism to tie their value to the 'real world' asset which they are based on.

All polymorphic digital assets are initial lent into existence, in a similar way that traditional banks lend out regular fiat money into existence, and using the internal Bitshares currency BTSX as collateral to provide 200% backing for every unit of a BitAsset.

Let's say someone borrows 1 BitUSD, which is the BitAsset pegged to the value of the United States dollar. When they do this the software creates 1 BitUSD for them and gives it to them as a loan, but in order to be able to do this the person requesting 1 BitUSD must put aside 2 USD worth of BTSX at current market prices to cover the loan if necessary . For ease of explanation, imagine a situation in which 1 BTSX is worth 1 USD when you initially 'borrow' 1 BitUSD into existence. You can therefore sell your BitUSD for exactly 1 BTSX. Now imagine that by the time your loan is due to be repaid, the value of BTSX has doubled; this means that to repay your 1 BitUSD you only need to pay 0.5 BTSX – effectively doubling your money.

In this way, borrowing the BitUSD asset into existence is effectively like 'short selling' the asset – you are betting that the value will fall in relation to BTSX.

If you are wrong and the price of BitUSD rises compared to BTSX then you will effectively have to repay more than you got by borrowing the BitUSD and selling it. Because you had to put up twice the value of what you borrowed in collateral in order to take out this loan, this loss is paid for out of your capital, which is sold for BitUSD at a rate which correlates to the price movement.

The 'margin requirement' for this short sell is 1.5x the amount borrowed, which means that if the value of your collateral falls to this level your loan will be automatically closed and repaid; this is to reduce the likelihood that rapid market changes will lead to the value of the collateral falling below the value of the digital asset, which would lead to a situation in which the assets on the market would no longer be at least 100% backed by assets of an equal value, which is a key promise to give people confidence that their BitUSD will always be worth $1. As long as the reserve requirement is always met then people can have confidence that a BitUSD is worth the same as an USD, because if it was worth less then the system would sell BTSX held in reserve and buy enough BitUSD to increase its value to the appropriate level, whereas if it became overvalued then traders would borrow more into existence and therefore inflate the money supply and reduce the value.

Although this is all quite complicated, BitAssets can be bought and sold and transferred to others, meaning that the average user can simply buy and use BitUSD and other assets without worrying about any of this. These regular users will be able to take advantage of all the benefits of digital currencies, whilst at the same time having confidence that the value of their digital currency will remain stable – or in fact that it will remain precisely the same in relation to their usual fiat money.

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