Since its founding in 2013, ShapeShift has gained popularity because of its speed and privacy. Despite its success, little was known about the company or the people behind it. Now, though, the exchange has announced the true identity of its founder and CEO: Erik Voorhees, prominent Bitcoin entrepreneur.
In addition to this news, ShapeShift annoucned that it raised £525k (563,745 USD) from Barry Silbert and Roger Ver.
“Why the mystery? The goal with ShapeShift was this: build a service that was safe and trustworthy by design, not by faith in the creator,” wrote a ShapeShift spokeswoman.
Unlike other exchanges, which require you to upload numerous documents verifying your identity, Switzerland-based ShapeShift doesn’t require a account — meaning you can start trading instantly. It also means that funds are never in control of the company, removing the third-party risk of the exchange running off with money or being hacked. A key motivator for Voorhees when he founded the company.
ShapeShift also allows you exchange crypto-currencies instantly. Simply give the website a receiving address and a sending address and the coins will appear within seconds. Something that is very different from buying Bitcoin with fiat on places like Coinbase which can take a week to go through.
Not only does the exchange never touch fiat currency, it also refrains from using banks. They don’t even have a bank account. According its founder, the company pays for costs, employees, and everything else with Bitcoin or another crypto-currency.
Voorhees says Switzerland has received favorable regulatory opinion for the company’s unique business model and operations but like regulations in most places, much is up in the air. The company will continue to closely watch the regulatory situation in the country.
The company will be using the funds it raised to further its legal efforts in Switzerland and continue to expand its marketing efforts. Since its founding the company has grown to over 10 employees, which includes 8 developers.
Voorhees started his first bitcoin venture in 2011 with Satoshi Dice, a bitcoin gambling website which he later sold for a undisclosed amount of bitcoin. He next venture was Coinapult, a bitcoin payment and liquidity provider. He left his position as CEO at Coinapult to, as it been revealed, start ShapeShift.
Should ShapeShift revealed their creator from the beginning? Tell us in the comments!
Photos courtesy of Shapeshift.io, Forbes.com and Businesskorea.co.kr