ShapeShift’s New Platform Aims To Make Crypto Self-Custody As Easy As Coinbase (#GotBitcoin?)
ShapeShift’s new one-stop shop for non-custodial crypto management is launching out of private beta today. ShapeShift’s New Platform Aims To Make Crypto Self-Custody As Easy As Coinbase (#GotBitcoin?)
The new platform wants to rival custodians like Coinbase for ease-of-use, all while giving users full control of their private keys.
“Largely this came from my dissatisfaction with the reality that most of the large companies are custodial,” ShapeShift founder and CEO Erik Voorhees told CoinDesk in an interview. “It offers many services that a company like Coinbase would provide but on ShapeShift it’s done in a much more secure and self-sovereign way.”
The new platform allows users to buy, sell, trade and track multiple cryptocurrencies in a single place, with over 50 digital assets currently supported. Using the new platform requires a connected hardware wallet, like Trezor or KeepKey, which ShapeShift acquired in 2017. The company’s approach seeks to eliminate counterparty risk.
“There needed to be a platform that had great UX that my grandparents could use with limited instruction but that was built on a foundation of being non-custodial,” Voorhees said.
It’s a major launch for the five-year-old company, which was founded in 2014 as a way to swap one cryptocurrency for another.
The new ShapeShift has been over a year in the making and is aimed squarely at the retail market. And while the added functionality is meant to expand the company’s ambitions, Voorhees says the new platform is in keeping with ShapeShift’s libertarian roots.
“There’s a general sense within the industry is that if all that happens from the crypto revolution is that you just have a new set of custodians, then nothing really changed,” Voorhees said. By making it easy to hold your own keys, ShapeShift seeks to change that.
Voorhees said 20,000 users participated in the platform’s closed beta.
“A lot of people see it as the better way to use a hardware wallet,” he said of early user feedback.
Voorhees says more assets and features – like lending markets, derivatives and more fiat options – will be rolled into the platform going forward. ShapeShift also plans to release a mobile app. Notably, a know-your-customer (KYC) check is only required for trading.
“Large funds and institutions will likely still custody with third-party qualified custodians but as crypto becomes more mainstream, consumers will continue to custody using hardware solutions for some time,” Paul Veradittakit, a partner at Pantera Capital, which participated in ShapeShift’s $10.4 million Series A in 2017, told CoinDesk. “ShapeShift is providing a much better experience and product than the existing players.”
The launch comes seven months after significant downsizing at the company, which is operated primarily from the U.S. state of Colorado. However, as the most recent crypto winter recedes into the rearview, ShapeShift is optimistic about its “next phase.”
Describing the platform in a press statement, Voorhees said:
“It is where crypto lives and breathes, and upon it we will build our vision for self-sovereign finance.”
ShapeShift Enables US-Based Customers To Buy Crypto With Debit Card
Switzerland-based crypto exchange, ShapeShift, has enabled its United States-based customers to buy Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) with a debit card in the new exchange’s platform.
ShapeShift’s Founder, Eric Voorhees, Announced The Development In A Tweet On April 3, Saying:
“If you’re in the US, you can buy Bitcoin instantly in the new ShapeShift.com platform with your debit card. You can literally have the Bitcoin, in your possession, five minutes from now.”
KYC Processes Compliance
ShapeShift’s new platform doesn’t require account verification to purchase cryptocurrencies, which has led to questions from the tweet’s commentators.
When asked about the project’s Know-Your-Customer (KYC) policy, Voorhees confirmed that KYC is not required. This is due to the fact that, as is the case with Shapeshift, the platform does not actually hold custody of customer funds. Since transfers occur P2P between wallets owned and controlled by individual users, KYC measures are not strictly necessary.
ShapeShift has not yet released a mobile app, and only allows customers to purchase crypto via debit card through its web platform.
Crypto Industry Actively Adopts Debit And Credit Cards
Crypto exchanges have been actively adding support for debit cards, with some of them even issuing their own. Most recently, major crypto exchange, Binance, entered the crypto debit card sector with news of an official Binance Card. Issued by Visa, the card is initially only available in South East Asia, though the company states that other regions will be unlocked soon.
Earlier this year, Coinbase became a principal member of Visa, which allows it to issue debit cards without relying on third parties. The company’s Coinbase Card connects to each user’s Coinbase account, allowing individuals to spend their crypto balance via an instant conversion to fiat.
Crypto Exchange Shapeshift Integrates DEXes, Relieves User KYC Burdens
The new DEX onramps will offer users access to new assets, as well as better liquidity and security.
Noncustodial cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift announced today the integration of nearly a dozen decentralized exchange, or DEX, protocols — a move designed to relieve both the company as well as users of Know Your Customer burdens while simultaneously offering traders superior liquidity, pricing, asset availability and security.
Prior to the integrations, ShapeShift required users to undergo a KYC process in order for the company to remain legally compliant, as the exchange served as a counterparty to user trades.
In an interview with Cointelegraph, ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees said that regulated services will continue operating on assets that are not currently available through DEXes, such as native Bitcoin (BTC), but that “all non-DEX trading on ShapeShift will be retired” later in the year.
“By integrating our users directly to DEX trading, it means we are no longer part of the trade; we are not a custodian, a counterparty, or an intermediary of any kind at any step of the process,” said Voorhees. “Thus, we are purely a software technology company, and in this capacity we are not regulated because we are not engaged in a regulated activity.”
According to Voorhees, newly supported DEXes include popular decentralized finance protocols “Uniswap, Balancer, Curve, Bancor, Kyber, 0x, mStable,” as well as a half dozen others. Additionally, the list of integrations “will continue to expand as DEX technology permits.”
The move from ShapeShift is part of a wider trend of exchanges, wallets and other crypto services providing access to DeFi platforms — a movement, according to Voorhees, born of the maturation of a DeFi ecosystem that is “rapidly becoming superior to the status quo.”
Voorhees noted, however, that he is suspicious of “centralized, custodial services” offering on-ramps to DeFi, also known as “CeDeFi” — a phenomenon Voorhees thinks will be short-lived.
“They are incompatible, because they have to censor users and put up access controls. For example, a centralized exchange in Venezuela is restricted by capital controls, while DeFi is not (a decentralized protocol operates exactly the same in Venezuela as anywhere else).”
By contrast, Voorhees argued that noncustodial services like ShapeShift are a more natural fit for DeFi integrations, and as such, these initial DEX integrations might also be the foundation for a wider series of onramps to more varied DeFi products — including, hinted Voorhees, a decentralized Bitcoin exchange service.
In the end, providing these services to users is not a perk but instead a market reality.
“Two or three years ago, decentralized trading existed, but was not liquid or easy enough to be compelling at scale,” he said.
“That has changed, and as the industry evolves, so must we—we must always be working in the interests of our users and toward the advancement of self-sovereign finance.”
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