Bitshares Asset Terminology

The Bitshares Core code distinguishes between assets in the following manner:

  1. CORE – A base asset. Only one exists on the chain, and is created within the Genesis Block. On the BitShares mainnet, this is BTS. On the BitShares testnet, this is TEST.
  2. User Issued Asset (UIA) – An asset issued by a BitShares account.
  3. BitAsset – An asset that is backed by another. The backing asset is either CORE or an asset that itself is backed by CORE.

Some BitAssets have their parameters controlled by the BitShares Committee. These are distinguished by the ‘bit’ prefix(i.e. bitUSD, bitCNY, bitEUR, bitBTC). The price feeds for these assets come from committee members or witness members.

BitAssets could also be split into two types:

  1. Market Pegged Asset (MPA) – Assets who’s price is based on external price feeds (as opposed to the internal DEX market), and backed by the CORE asset or another asset that itself is backed by CORE.
  2. Prediction Market (PM) – Specialized BitAsset where total debt and total collateral are equal. Once a price feed (which will be between 0 and 1) is published, the market is globally settled.

Note: “Smartcoin” is an industry term with a few definitions. Those that refer to “smartcoins” on the BitShares platform are probably referring to Market Pegged Assets.

Note that assets must have some sort of exchange rate to calculate fees. This rate is called the Core Exchange Rate (CER).

BitShares Margin Terminology

BitShares has many controls around market pegged assets (MPAs) and their ability to be “shorted into existence.” Some of those fields have long names and difficult to sort out abbreviations. I am hoping to prepare this document to help sort it out.

MCR – Maintenance Collateral (or Margin Call) Ratio

How it is used:

For the sake of simplicity, I will not include fees in this discussion.

Scenario 1: Extreme Risk Taker

MYTOKEN is currently valued at 20 BTS. MCR is currently set at 1.75. I have 100 BTS, and wish to create 1 MYTOKEN. I would need to put up at least 35 BTS to create 1 MYTOKEN ( 20BTS * 1.75MCR = 35 ), which I do.

So now I have 1 MYTOKEN, I also have 75 BTS, and 35 BTS tied up as collateral.

If the value of MYTOKEN rises in relation to BTS, my collateral ratio is now below the 1.75 minimum. Let’s say the value of MYTOKEN rises to 25BTS. My collateral ratio is now (collateral / ( debt * current price) =) 1.4, well below the maintenance level I need of 1.75. I will be forced to sell (a.k.a. margin called).

Scenario 2: A Conservative Trader

MYTOKEN is currently valued at 20BTS. MCR is currently set at 1.75. I have 100 BTS, and wish to create 1 MYTOKEN. I would need to put up at least 35 BTS to create 1 MYTOKEN (this is the same as Scenario 1). I put up 50 BTS as collateral to received 1 MYTOKEN.

With such a trade, I can calculate at what price MYTOKEN must rise (or BTS must fall) to in order to be margin called. That formula is (collateral / (debt * MCR). Therefore the price at which I would get margin called is (50 / (1 * 1.75)) = 28.5714BTS

MSSR – Maximum Short Squeeze Ratio

How it is used:

When margin calls happen, orders to purchase the asset I “shorted into existence” could dry up the current liquidity on the “sell” side of the market. If there are no sellers, the price of the asset could skyrocket, thereby leaving me to lose even more money.

MSSR helps with this. It is a safety mechanism for orderly markets. We will run the margin call of Scenario 2 above through the market. For this scenario, the MSSR is set at 1.1. That means that I will have to pay up to 10% above market price in order to lower my exposure. We calculated that the price at which I would get margin called was 28.5714BTS. With an MSSR of 1.1 that means that I will pay up to 31.4281BTS.

The order book currently has an order to sell 0.25 MYTOKEN at 29 BTS, and another order to sell 0.25 MYTOKEN at 32 BTS. That means the system will purchase the 0.25 MYTOKENs at 29BTS. My account will now have 0.75 MYTOKEN, and will have used 7.25BTS of my collateral for the purchase. That leaves my collateral balance at 42.75BTS.

After that purchase, the price of MYTOKEN would need to continue to rise to 32.5714 for my collateral ratio to again be low enough for yet another margin call.

How MCR and MSSR are adjusted

At the moment, the settlement price, MCR, and MSSR are provided by price feeds. The different feeds are used to derive an average that is used for all market participants at that time.

Creating a Coin/Token on the BitShares Blockchain

Do you want your own token? Who doesn’t? Here is how you can create your own token on the BitShares blockchain. This is called a “User Issued Asset” or UIA.

For this tutorial, I will be using the BitShares public testnet. I suggest you do the same. Just ask for some TEST tokens so that you can play around. I will also be using the command line based reference wallet that comes with BitShares Core, the cli_wallet.

Firstly, I must start my wallet and make sure it connects to a testnet node. I can then unlock my wallet, and as long as I have some TEST tokens to pay the fee, I can create my token. Here is the syntax:

create_asset <issuer> <symbol> <precision> <options> <bitasset_options> <send>

We will be replacing each of these <parameters> with a value. Let’s begin.


This is normally you. You can use your account name or your account ID. This is who will sign the transaction, and also who will be responsible for issuing tokens.


Give your token a name. Tokens with a 3 character symbol are expensive. 4 character names are less so, and 5 or more characters are the cheapest.


This is how many decimal places you want your token to have. Zero is valid, 8 is the maximum.


This is some JSON text, where you specify many options. An example is below.

   "max_supply" : 100000,
   "market_fee_percent" : 30,
   "max_market_fee" : 1000, 
   "issuer_permissions" : 1,
   "core_exchange_rate" : {
       "base": {
         "amount": 21, 
         "asset_id": "1.3.0" 
       "quote": {
         "amount": 76399,       
         "asset_id": "1.3.1"     
   "whitelist_authorities" : [],
   "blacklist_authorities" : [],
   "whitelist_markets" : [],
   "blacklist_markets" : [],
   "description" : "My New Token"

BitAsset Options

This is a special type of token, which I will not discuss here. Pass a ‘null’ in place of this parameter.


This is the final parameter. It says that you would like to transmit this to the blockchain. Passing true here will process your request. Passing false will run what you sent through some checks to make sure it is valid, and then return you the results as if you had sent true.

Issuer Permissions

Notice the value of 1 in the field issuer_permissions above. For the desired value of issuer_permissions you will need to do a little math.

Start with 0. If you want to charge a fee when the token is traded on the exchange, add 1. If you want the asset to only be distributable to those in the white list, add 2. If you want the Issuer to be able to take back the token from any account, add 4. If you want the issuer to be the only entity that can transfer the token, add 8. If you do not want to give the token holders the ability to do blind transfers, add 40. Place the total in issuer_permissions. In the example above, we only want to charge a market fee. So the total is 1.

The Final Product

create_asset jmjatlanta4 JMJATLANTA 8 { "max_supply" : 100000, "market_fee_percent" : 30, "max_market_fee" : 1000, "issuer_permissions" : 1, "core_exchange_rate" : { "base": { "amount": 21, "asset_id": "1.3.0" }, "quote": { "amount": 76399, "asset_id": "1.3.1" } }, "whitelist_authorities" : [], "blacklist_authorities" : [], "whitelist_markets" : [], "blacklist_markets" : [], "description" : "My New Token" } null false

The above will create my new token JMJATLANTA that I can then give to whomever has an account on the BitShares blockchain.

Stay Tuned!

But what do all of those other bits of data mean? That will be the subject of my next post about User Issued Assets.