ShapeShift
Company typePrivate
IndustryCryptocurrency
FoundedJuly 2014
FounderErik Voorhees
HeadquartersSwitzerland
Key people
Erik Voorhees
Websiteshapeshift.com

ShapeShift is a cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in Switzerland. As of 2018, the company was run out of Denver, Colorado.[1] A 2018 investigation by the Wall Street Journal alleged that ShapeShift had facilitated money laundering of $90 million in funds from criminal activities over a two-year period.[1]

History

The company was founded July 1, 2014 in Switzerland by Erik Voorhees. Voorhees cited the collapse of the Mt. Gox exchange as the motive for creation of Shapeshift.[2]

In March 2015, the company received a US$525,000 seed-stage investment by Roger Ver and Barry Silbert.[citation needed] Additional funding totaling US$1.6 million were raised by September 2015, from investors in a second funding round including Digital Currency Group, Bitfinex, Bitcoin Capital and Mardal Investments.[3][4]

ShapeShift released initially on the iOS platform in June 2015, allowing users to swap 25 digital currencies and value tokens.[5]

On 11 June 2015, ShapeShift "cut off service to New York in response to the state’s new regulatory policy for digital currency businesses, ... BitLicense," which was released in June with the final regulations approved in August.[6][7][8] The company stated that if they had complied with the New York BitLicense regulations, then significant personal and private data would also have been in the hands of the hacker.

In March 2017, ShapeShift raised $10.4 million in series A funding from both US and international venture capital firms. Berlin-based Earlybird Venture Capital was the lead investor, with additional funding from Lakestar, Access Venture Partners, Pantera Capital and Blockchain Capital.[9][10]

In August 2017 ShapeShift announced it would stop functioning in the state of Washington because of BitLicense-style regulations imposed by the passage of Senate Bill 5031.[citation needed]

ShapeShift, unlike many exchanges, did not require user identification, allowing for anonymous transactions. This lack of oversight enabled criminals, including North Korean hackers and Ponzi scheme operators, to launder nearly $90 million in criminal proceeds, with ShapeShift processing the largest portion of these funds among exchanges with U.S. presence. ShapeShift's policy facilitated the conversion of traceable cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin into untraceable ones like Monero, effectively obscuring the money trail.[11][12]

The company began requiring personal identification information from its customers on October 1, 2018.[1] As of January 2024 the company's FAQ says that it does not require know your customer verification.[13]

References

  1. ^ a b c Shifflett, Shane; Scheck, Justin (September 28, 2018). "How Dirty Money Disappears Into the Black Hole of Cryptocurrency". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  2. ^ "Interview with Erik Voorhees". Interviews with Max Raskin. Retrieved October 26, 2021.
  3. ^ Biggs, John (September 8, 2015). "ShapeShift, A Cool Cryptocurrency Converter, Clinches $1.6 Million In Cash". TechCrunch. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  4. ^ Wilhelm, Alex (September 17, 2015). "This Week On The TechCrunch Bitcoin Podcast: Million-Dollar Electric Bill". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  5. ^ Vinton, Kate (June 9, 2015). "ShapeShift Founder Erik Voorhees Launches First iOS Cryptocurrency Trading App". Forbes. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
  6. ^ Roberts, Daniel (June 11, 2015). "Bitcoin company ditches New York, blaming new regulations". Fortune. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
  7. ^ Roberts, Daniel (August 14, 2015). "Behind the "exodus" of bitcoin startups from New York". Fortune. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
  8. ^ Rosenfeld, Everett (June 11, 2015). "Company leaves New York, protesting 'BitLicense'". CNBC. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  9. ^ "Digital asset exchange ShapeShift raises $10.4 million in funding". Reuters. March 29, 2017. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  10. ^ Paul Sawers (March 28, 2017). "ShapeShift raises $10.4 million to grow its cryptocurrency exchange platform". VentreBeat. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  11. ^ Casey, Michael J.; Stynes, Tess (June 3, 2014). "Bitcoin Entrepreneur Agrees to Pay $50,000 to Settle SEC Charges". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  12. ^ Scheck, Justin; Shifflett, Shane (September 28, 2018). "How Dirty Money Disappears Into the Black Hole of Cryptocurrency". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  13. ^ "FAQ | ShapeShift". shapeshift.com. Retrieved January 5, 2024.