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ShapeShift is a web and API platform formed in August of 2014 to provide instant Bitcoin and altcoin conversion with the maximum level of consumer protection and efficiency.

Users do not have to create accounts, deposit funds, or provide private personal information. This keeps the users safe from identity or financial theft – a critical improvement in exchange technology.

The company has a strict “No Fiat” policy, meaning it does not use banks or political currencies anywhere in its operations.

Erik Voorhees

Erik, Founder & CEO

  • Erik Voorhees is among the top-recognized serial Bitcoin advocates and entrepreneurs and has been at the center of the industry since 2011. Having been a featured guest on Bloomberg, Fox Business, CNBC, BBC Radio, The Peter Schiff Show, and numerous industry conferences, Erik understands the profound implications of decentralized, censorship-resistant finance and the good it will bring to a world still stuck in an economic dark age.

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Connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/erikvoorhees

He will be live on Wednesday, October 24, 2016 1:00 PM (Canada/Eastern) for one hour during which he will answer as many questions as possible.

Leave your questions below.


    What is your opinion(s) about the hardforks with Ethereum?
    Ethereum is going through a trial by fire, currently. The DAO disaster earlier this year has led to a cascading set of interventions by the Ethereum devs which have had both good and bad consequences. The contentious fork, which was put in place specifically to prevent the DAO thief from stealing tens of millions of dollars of ETH, was successful in getting the victim’s their money back. That was good. However, that fork was highly contentious and now we have ETH Classic, made of those people who didn’t want to go along with the new fork. While this caused quite a bit of turmoil (still ongoing), it’s hard for me to say it was a failure. A division within the community has now been resolved, and since both camps were significant enough in size, we now have two Ethereum’s, for a while at least. It has actually made the community more peaceful, because instead of the two camps arguing over who is right, both of them can be “right” in their own way, and the market will decide who’s product is actually better. I expect ETH to win out over ETC, but I have to admit ETC has survived longer than I thought.

    On forks generally, any cryptocurrency can/will fork if a sufficient portion of its community feels disenfranchised and wants to move in another direction. Ethereum is no different than Bitcoin, fundamentally, in this fact. The difference is that, to date, Bitcoin’s community has not split in two, with two competing chains. But just because it hasn’t, doesn’t mean it won’t, and certainly the block size debate has the possibility of splitting the community and resulting in two separate Bitcoin forks (though, as with ETH, I believe one would ultimately prevail in the marketplace). Factom’s David Johnston wrote a series of good posts on this topic which I recommend: https://medium.com/@DJohnstonEC/embrace-the-coming-bitcoin-fork-1-of-3-40226a253998#.b0v6h653c

    Second Question: What is goal with ShapeShift? Where would you like to be in one year from now and how are you going to get there?
    ShapeShift is designed to be the most efficient way for any person or machine to convert one blockchain asset into any other. Since I see the industry branching swiftly in many directions, and since blockchain tokens will find useful applications far beyond just currency, the market for exchanging these tokens seamlessly should be substantial. That’s what we’re building toward. We don’t care at all about fiat or banks, we focus solely on digital assets.
    What do you believe are the biggest hurdles (technology ) going forward?
    The single biggest hurdle is the momentum and habit of end-users. To the extent we want the world to use Bitcoin as money, it has to compete with a system that works “pretty well most of the time for most people.” Bitcoin is a better form of money than fiat, but changing such a fundamental habit of people is extremely hard. It’s astounding that Bitcoin has been able to grow to the size it is, and it keeps getting bigger. It hasn’t gone exponential, yet, but growth is steady and strong for 6+ years now.
    It seems fairly obvious that many startups in the blockchain space have over-promised and are going to fail to deliver (i.e., we begin our descent into the trough of disillusionment). What impact(s) do you envision this having on the technology and the willingness of investors to put their cash in? Relatedly, what is your view of the role of big business (the Wall Street banks, the major tech players (IBM, MS), insurance companies, etc) in blockchain?
    Great question. Of course, this is true in most industries… most startups fail. Every entrepreneur thinks he/she has the next big thing, and only a few of them pan out. Bitcoin is no different, and that’s okay. Investors certainly like to follow the trend, not make it, so during periods where Bitcoin is not being hyped to the moon (basically during the periods between bubbles), it will inevitably be more difficult to get funding.

    Regarding “big business,” I’m thrilled to see them starting to experiment with this technology. Some Bitcoiners don’t want anyone “big” to get involved, but that is A) unrealistic and B) unwise. If Bitcoin is going to truly change the financial world, then it will get increasingly integrated into the world’s financial system, and doing that requires the work of many companies, from small startups to big enterprises. And there is no need to fear this… Bitcoin cannot be censored (for even if it was, somehow, a different blockchain technology would emerge and route around it). As blockchains and digital assets seep into the world’s financial infrastructure, the promise of open finance and free market money will necessarily emerge. Bitcoin (the open movement of money) cannot be stopped just as the internet (the open movement of information) cannot be, either.

    And then… just wait until the next financial crisis. That will be when the Bitcoin ecosystem is really put to the test, and when its greatest opportunity awaits.

    Are you planning to integrate more coins in the future and if so, which ones and why?
    We generally consider adding any asset that gets a high enough market cap and daily trade volume (which can be seen in realtime at coincap.io). So in this way we let the market guide us. Next coin on our list is Zcash, which we’re immensely excited about. Disclaimer: both myself and ShapeShift are investors in Zcash.
    What do you think about security of Smart Contracts. What is needed in order to prevent ‘The DAO’ fail?
    Well, I’m not a computer scientist or engineer, so I have to admit fairly limited technology knowledge. However, as a broad field of experimentation, I think smart contracts have an immensely powerful future. Nobody should expect smart contracts to just suddenly be born into the world 100% safe. People are going to make lots of (very costly) mistakes, the DAOsaster being the most horrendous example. But the fact that a new technology is “unproven” and “experimental” and “risky” doesn’t mean it is wrong or should be ignored. Indeed, Bitcoin security has gone through many challenges, and it’s taken 4+ years to get most people into reasonably safe wallets (multi sig + 2FA, etc).

    Smart contracts are worth of study and experimentation, indeed we’re building a very cool project using Ethereum smart contracts right now at ShapeShift… but we need to be really careful.

    I’ve had troubles exchanging BTC into ETH in Jaxx wallet in the last two weeks – is that a known/common issue?
    Everything in ETH is messed up over the last few weeks. ETH has been under a series of attacks that are ebbing and flowing. ShapeShift, and many other ETH services, have all had problems with this network-wide issue. The Ethereum Foundation and engineers around the world are working on fighting these attacks. I think it will be resolved, and Ethereum will be stronger for it, but in the mean time it is a pain in the ass for everyone 🙂 Very sorry for the inconvenience!
    as far as I understand, shapeshift can be used in one of three ways:
    – your own app
    – your website
    – third party apps like Jaxx
    Where do you see the biggest growth and the biggest potential? Besides jaxx, what are the most popular integrations?
    The whole service is primarily designed as an API. The website itself merely uses the API. ShapeShift was built to be frictionless, meaning no users accounts or sign ups, and this is crucial to attracting partners, because nobody wants to have to send all their users to go sign up somewhere else. Especially when it’s totally unnecessary. Over time, I expect that orders that come to us from our partners (over the API) will come to be the majority of our volume.