Bitshares (BTS) started as a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange and later migrated into a public blockchain infrastructure. Bitshares was built in July 2014 by Dan Larimer (Steem/EOS's co-founder) and Charles Hoskinson (Cardano's founder).
The BitShares blockchain was the first to implement a Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) consensus mechanism, in which token holders are allowed to delegate their token to validators without having to run a validating node themselves.
The BitShares platform can be used to launch Decentralized Autonomous Companies ("DAC") which issue shares, produce profits and distribute profits to shareholders.
The BTS token is used for transaction fees, voting, and staking within the BitShares Network.