There are shifts at ShapeShift and not everyone’s happy with them.
When the token exchange recently announced a new “membership” model with mandatory account identification, there was outrage from certain members of the cryptocurrency community who felt it was abandoning its pledge to privacy and destroying its core value proposition.
Bitcoin developer Peter Todd, for one, was brutal:
ShapeShift described the move as a way to provide added perks to loyal customers and to explore approaches to tokenizing that loyalty. But it was clear that the threat of action by regulators played a big hand in the move.
In a blog post announcing the move, CEO Erik Voorhees, a prominent crypto libertarian and vocal proponent of individuals’ rights’ to private value exchange, acknowledged to his customers that the mandatory aspect of the new model “sucks.” And in a reply to crypto developer Greg Slepak’s suggestion on Twitter that he write an “honest blog” about what happened, Voorhees responded by saying “What I write is being watched very closely. Please give us time.”
But in a statement provided to CoinDesk, Voorhees offered further explanation for ShapeShift’s policy shift. He said an official know-your-customer (KYC) identification system “was not added a result of any enforcement action, but rather a proactive step we took to derisk the company amid uncertain and changing global regulations.”
“We remain committed to the struggle for financial privacy and sovereignty for all humans,” he said, but added,
“Ultimately, ShapeShift is a corporate entity, and we have to abide by laws around the world. “