In contrast to most crypto-currencies, BitShares does not claim to be a currency but rather an equity in a decentral autonomous company (DAC). As a result, the market valuation of BitShares is free floating and may be as volatile as any other equity (e.g. of traditional companies).
Every entity hold the core token (BTS) is considered a shareholder of the BitShares decentralized company.
Nonetheless, BTS tokens can be used as collateral in financial smart contracts such as market pegged assets and thus back every existing smartcoin such as the bitUSD.
Furthermore, each BTS can be used to cast a vote for
and can thus participate in the corporate governance.