Shapeshift.io is an altcoin exchange, focused on the quick and pain-free conversion of one type of crypto currency into another. Unlike other similar operations, Shapeshift observes a strict “no fiat currency” policy, meaning that they are not involved with any sort of banking/financial institutions and that they do not handle funds in USD, EUR or any other government-endorsed vehicle of value. This is certainly a unique selling point for the operation, one that makes it possible for them to convert crypto-currencies for their clients without requesting any sort of personal information from them.
Indeed, to exchange your LTCs into BTCs and vice-versa, or to any of the 40 other virtual coins they support, you won’t need to create an account with the site, nor will you even have to provide your email address.
From what we could glean from various forums and reviews, Shapeshift is indeed a legitimate operation. There’s nothing about the site (shapeshift.io) that would suggest otherwise either.
No, Shapeshift do not make any wild promises, they aren’t involved with crypto-currency mining or cloud mining (at least in regards to the services offered through shapeshift.io, they’re not) and there’s nothing in their pitch that would qualify as “too good to be true.”
How exactly does Shapeshift work? To convert one crypto coin to another, the client is first required to select the currencies he wants to convert between. Once that’s done, he is required to provide a destination wallet address, as well as a return wallet address for the currency from which the conversion is done. This is where the funds will be returned in case anything goes wrong with the transaction.
What could possibly go wrong? From hacking to major delays, just about anything. Shapeshift was in fact hacked back in 2015, but due to the way the system was designed from the ground-up, not a single penny was lost. The integrity of the operation is indeed unquestionable.
After the transaction is approved, the funds are transferred to the destination wallet, but not before a fee is cut for the transaction. The fees used for every crypto currency are displayed in plain view at the Shapeshift site. We strongly advise everyone looking to convert some funds, to browse through that page first. Most legitimate complaints regarding the operator concern these conversion fees, but again: there’s nothing underhanded about them. They are displayed clearly, for everyone to see.
There are minimums and maximums defined on every transaction, which serve some kind of a security purpose. These have sometimes been complained about as well.
Shapeshift.io does indeed have an About Us section, where the exact service procedures are described. The information relevant to the corporate background of the operation is contained in the Company Information sub-section, in the Resources section.
There, we learn that the founder of shapeshift.io is none other than Eric Voorhees, who has indeed been something of a Bitcoin/crypto currency celebrity since 2011. He was featured in a number of documentaries about the rise of crypto currencies and he is very keen on the decentralized and anonymous nature of the crypto world. His disdain for fiat currencies has been known for quite some time, and the policies based on which shapeshift operates, are a clear reflection of his stance on this matter.
The overall perception of shapeshift in the crypto currency forum-sphere is positive. No one really disputes the legitimate nature of the operation, although there are always a few eager to scream “scam” through most such channels.
Reddit posts deal with the day-to-day operations of the site, and they detail the measures taken in the wake of the above mentioned 2015 hacking.
Bitcointalk.org paints a much clearer picture of the operation though, from the day its thread was created, in July, 2013. What can be gleaned from the chatter there is that Shapeshift took off well in 2013, offering people a 1LTC promotional reward for using their services. Back in those days, transactions were indeed completed instantaneously and since the overloading of the BTC network wasn’t as big an issue then, Shapeshift was impressing everyone with its execution speeds, anonymity and simplicity.
Nowadays, many things have changed though. Transfers initiated for larger sums are apparently routinely delayed (most often on account of factors beyond Shapeshift’s control), and support seems to have a tough time sorting out all the issues they’re saddled with. The conversion volumes handled by the operation have obviously shot up quite a bit since its launch too.
The actual shapeshift.io website is well put-together, obviously meant to facilitate quick and fuss-free transactions. The domain name was registered in February, 2014. The actual identity of the registrant is not available though. It seems like Voorhees’ affinity for anonymity has permeated this level of the operation too.
The domain enjoys a very healthy Alexa rank of less than 23,000 at the time of writing, and a little above 7,000 in the US. There are obviously scores of people making use of Shapeshift’s services, especially in the US, but also in the UK, India, Germany, Japan as well as other countries. The Moz.com domain authority of the site is 49/100, which is good indeed. It has been assigned a spam score of 3.17 too though. A total of 308 root domains link to shapeshift.io, obviously, many of them authority sites from within the crypto currency niche, so it’s safe to say that the backlink profile of the site is indeed healthy.
Aragon (ANT), Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcrystals (BCY), Blackcoin (BLK), BitShares (BTS), Clams (CLAM), DASH, Digibyte (DGB), DigixDao (DGD), DogeCoin (DOGE), Emercoin (EMC), Ether (ETH), Ether Classic (ETC), Factoids (FCT), Golem (GNT), Matchpool (GUP), Iconomi (ICN), LBRY Credits (LBC), Lisk (LSK), Litecoin (LTC), Maidsafe (MAID), Melon (MLN), Mastercoin (MSC), Monacoin (MONA), Namecoin (NMC), Novacoin (NVC), Nubits (NBT), NXT, Potcoin (POT), Peercoin (PPC), Reddcoin (RDD), Augur (REP), iExec (RLC), Siacoin (SC), StorjcoinX (SJCX), SingularDTV (SNGLS), Startcoin (START), STEEM, SwarmCity (SWT), TokenCard (TKN), TetherUSD (USDT), Vericoin (VRC), Vertcoin (VTC), Voxels (VOX), WeTrust (TRST), WINGS, Counterparty (XCP), Monero (XMR), Ripple (XRP), Zcash (ZEC).
Shapeshift Review Conclusion
Shapshift is a legitimate operation. Most of the complaints you’ll come across in various forums regarding its services are aimed at the execution times of its conversions, which have long deviated from “instantaneous.” The strains experienced by most crypto currency networks have a lot to do with that. It seems though that every time there’s a problem, the Shapeshift support staff comes through and solves the issue, either by pushing through the conversion or by returning the user’s deposited funds.
The site is obviously struggling with the new challenges of the crypto-sphere, but overall, its attitude and approach is positive.
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