ShapeShift Celebrates Five Years Anniversary With New Platform Launch

News and Analysis

Launching out of private beta today, ShapeShift’s new platform allows users to buy, sell, trade, and manage over 50 different digital assets through a connected hardware wallet. 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.

“We call it the ShapeShift Platform, and where our original product was a simple 1:1 tool for digital asset trades, the new product is a comprehensive interface for holding, buying, selling, trading, watching, and interacting with digital assets,” writes ShapeShift founder and CEO Erik Voorhees in the company’s blog.

According to him, the new platform wants to rival custodians like Coinbase for ease-of-use, 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,” he told CoinDesk. “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.”

As the company’s approach seeks to eliminate counterparty risk, using the new platform requires a connected hardware wallet, like Trezor or KeepKey, which ShapeShift acquired in August 2017, with Ledger support coming soon.

“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.

This is how a user of the new ShapeShift platform would track their portfolio

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,” he added.

By making it easy to hold your own keys, ShapeShift seeks to change that, claiming that to date no other company has built a crypto platform that is non-custodial, enables native exchange, and supports dozens of digital assets on multiple chains, all available in a standard web-browser.

According to Voorhees, 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.

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