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Bitcoin is the first fully autonomous system to utilize distributed consensus technology to create a more efficient and reliable global payment network. The core innovation of Bitcoin is the Blockchain, a cryptographically secured public ledger of all accounts on the Bitcoin network that facilitates the transfer of value from one individual directly to another. For the first time in history, financial transactions over the internet no longer require a middle man to act as a trustworthy, confidential fiduciary. BitShares looks to extend the innovation of the blockchain to all industries that rely upon the internet to provide their services. Whether its banking, stock exchanges, lotteries, voting, music, auctions or many others, a digital public ledger allows for the creation of distributed autonomous companies (or DACs) that provide better quality services at a fraction of the cost incurred by their more traditional, centralized counterparts. The advent of DACs ushers in a new paradigm in organizational structure in which companies can run without any human management and under the control of an incorruptible set of business rules. These rules are encoded in publicly auditable open source software distributed across the computers of the companys shareholders, that effortlessly secure the company from arbitrary control. BitShares does for business what bitcoin did for money by utilizing distributed consensus technology to create companies that are inherently global, transparent, trustworthy, efficient and most importantly profitable.