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BitShares is an open-source, public, blockchain-based real-time financial platform. It provides a built-in decentralized asset exchange, similar to NYSE but for cryptocurrencies and without the need to trust a central authority to handle all the funds, that can execute trading using an international network of computers in which anyone can take part. BitShares was the first cryptocurrency to have a treasury which can be spent on any activity or development considered beneficial by network participants. The platform has been designed by Daniel Larimer, an American programmer and entrepreneur, and launched in July 2014. Since March 2016 the project is a part of Microsoft Azure Blockchain as a Service package.