During the Miami Bitcoin Conference 2015, Bitcoinist was able to conduct several interviews and make new connections which will be posted for your reading pleasure at a later time. One of the contacts we met was Emily, a representative from Shapeshift. In this interview, we discussed what ShapeShift does and briefly talked the Shifty Button, which allows website owners to accept altcoins that are automatically exchanged into Bitcoin.
For people that don’t know, what is Shapeshift and how does it work?
ShapeShift is an instant exchange for cryptocurrency. It is different from a normal exchange, because it doesn’t have user accounts, and doesn’t require users to hold funds on the platform. It is very similar to a vending machine – the user arrives at the site, selects the coin she wants, and the coin she’ll pay with, and then ShapeShift provides a deposit address. Once the deposit is received, the coins are exchanged instantly and sent to the user. There is no signup process or hour-long delay for deposit or withdrawal, etc.
How did you make a service possible in the first place?
We realized that cryptocurrency enables fast, secure transactions, and because of this there is no need for an exchange to hold a user’s funds over time. This mechanism would never work with normal fiat currency, but with crypto, all kinds of new transaction models are possible.
With no exchange fee and only a miner fee, how do you manage to make income?
We build a small profit for ourselves into the exchange rate. So the user gets exactly what the exchange rate shows, and from that rate we make a little money. Because the revenue is so thin for us, the model doesn’t really make economic sense for us until the site gets very big and popular, but we hope to get there some day!
While you offer instant exchanges, you only offer a couple of currencies. Is there a reason for this?
Well we offer 15 leading cryptocurrencies right now. Ripple, Nubits, and StartCoin were our most recent additions, and we’ll continue adding popular coins to the platform. We don’t want to (and can’t) accept every kind of coin right away, because each coin is different and requires some development work and capital to hold some inventory of that coin. Every major cryptocurrency will be on the platform, though, and most already are.
Is it possible to accept Bitcoin and get paid in altcoins via your shifty button?
The Shifty Button is a simple HTML snippet that allows a website to accept altcoins which are automatically converted into Bitcoin (just as a company like BitPay enables a website to accept Bitcoin and automatically convert to fiat). The Shifty Button doesn’t let the site receive the funds as other coins, but if they wish to do this, they can use our full-featured API. The API is very powerful, enabling instant conversion of all leading coins between each other. The Shifty Button is more like a simple tool that some people will find very convenient.
Have you used ShapeShift? What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo Sources: ShapeShift