ShapeShift is one of the most popular instant exchanges, it provides users the ability to buy or sell any cryptocurrency (including many altcoins), as well as exchanging between coins. The instantaneous nature of the exchange has increased its popularity and put it on the map of cryptocurrency exchanges. This ShapeShift review aims to provide you with a complete overview of the exchange, its advantages to its disadvantages.
Before starting with ShapeShift review, lets begin with a bit of background –
Shapeshift.io was founded by Erik Tristan Voorhees in 2013, who also serves as its current CEO. Located in Switzerland, Shapeshift was launched as a quick medium to buy and convert cryptocurrencies without hassle. The platform became so popular that many hard-wallets, like Jaxx, brought Shapeshift on-board, meaning that users can convert on their platform without going elsewhere. It not only saved a lot in fees, but the conversion was quick and instant.
Shapeshift offers 45 cryptocurrencies, including the majors like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic etc, to many altcoins like BlackCoin, ReddCoin, Augur, Gnosis, Golem, Potcoin etc. Offering 45 coins is good, but it does mean there is a huge amount it does not account more, some of the popular coins it does not offer include – BitcoinDark, EmerCoin, FunFair, Metal, MonaCoin, Omni etc. They not only sell these cryptocurrencies, but they also give users an option to convert one currency into another.
You are free to convert bitcoin into an altcoin,an altcoin back to Bitcoin, or altcoin to altcoin. The instant rates that Shapeshift provides are the small charges levied from users for using their conversion services. These small charges are a miner-fee. They do not charge anything outside the miner’s fee.
ADVANTAGES OF SHAPESHIFT
There are many advantages of Shapeshift, these include –
- Shapeshift has a dedicated mobile app for their users, available on both Android or iOS. Having a mobile app increases the user base and welcomes those who find mobile devices easier to use than desktops (millenials!).
- The interface of Shapeshift is easy and beginner friendly. The user-friendly design and layout makes it easier for new-comers and first-timers to buy cryptocurrency.
- For those seeking anonymity, Shapeshift can tick that box because it does not require any verification, nor does it ask the user to create an account!
- Sending and receiving cryptocurrency from Shapeshift to other wallets is pretty much instant and easy at that.
- Shapeshift is not only a cryptocurrency exchange, but one of the most popular cryptocurrency conversion platforms. Many wallets have integrated Shapeshift on-board to make it easier for their users to convert one cryptocurrencies into another.
- The conversion is quick and hassle-free. If you want to buy an ICO that requires you to deposit Ether (ETH), but you have Bitcoin (BTC), it’ll take you just a few seconds to convert your BTC into ETH and immediately buy the token.
- The conversion fees that Shapeshift charges is only the mining fee, nothing else.
SOME MORE BENEFITS OF USING SHAPESHIFT
- The transactions are quick and instant. Users have rarely found any issues converting cryptocurrency through Shapeshift.
- Shapeshift has limited cryptocurrency stored online, or in hot wallets linked to their platform for quick exchanges. The majority of their cryptocurrencies are stored in cold wallets, away from hackers (offline).
- The website can be accessed in 14 major languages, including – English, Spanish, Italian, French, Dutch, Hindi, Japanese, etc.
- Shapeshift is a great place to diversify your crypto-portfolio, due to their variety of cryptocurrencies available. They’re an exchange that has also got involved early with some of the famous altcoins as well as introducing ICOs to their platform early.
- Shapeshift has always been transparent and upfront about the fees they charge. They only charge the mining-fees from users, nothing more. They have a clear list on the website with transaction charges for every single cryptocurrency they have. You can have a look at it here –
- Users must be aware of a few things regarding these charges. Every cryptocurrency has its own charge, so there is no fix transaction fees like other exchanges, for instance Binance (0.1%), or Bittrex (0.25%). Users have to do their own research before they convert their cryptocurrency.
- Shapeshift also offers real-time market data for its users, under the name of CoinCap.io, which is available online and they also have an app for mobile devices (for both iOS and Android devices).
DISADVANTAGES OF SHAPESHIFT
There are also disadvantages to Shapeshift. A review would be incomplete without an honest focus on its down-sides, and some of them are –
- It was hacked in 2016, with over $200 million worth of coins stolen, clearly not what you want from your exchange, meaning that investors will have their doubts. The website was immediately taken offline, and since then security improvements were implemented.
- Customer support needs a lot of improvement, this is not helped by the lack of a live chat function. The only way to resolve an issue is either by referring to the FAQs or by raising a ticket, which takes quite a while to receive a reply.
- ShapeShift does not allow depositing Fiat money or government issued currency on their platform. This is one of the biggest downsides of the website, out casting newbies to the market who do not own any cryptocurrencies yet. The only way to buy crypto-assets on Shapeshift is by converting one currency to another.
- Shapeshift does not require its users to create an account or undergo any kind of verification. This raises questions about anti-money laundering policies, which will undoubtedly be asked. Having no verification process has made the exchange popular with those who like anonymity.
- There is no trading platform on Shapeshift, meaning the avid trader will unlikely use the platform.
- Shapeshift does not disclose this fact, but there is a limit on transactions. Your transaction will not happen if you try sending more crypto-assets than the said limit (per coin).
Due to being a hugely popular exchanges, Shapeshift draws huge amount of users from across the globe. As per data from similarweb.com, Shapeshift pulled a crowd of almost 5.4 million in the last six months, while the traffic passed 6.5 million in December (when Bitcoin price soared).
The USA has the highest amount of visitors to the exchange, with 28%. USA is followed by the United Kingdom (6.7%), Germany (5%), Netherlands (3.8%) and Canada (3.7%).
While social media greatly influences a website’s success and views, Shapeshift is doing well and has a good following. Reddit draws over 49.5% of the crowd to Shapeshift, while YouTube contributes by pushing 23.3% views towards the website. Facebook contributes by 12%, while Twitter (10%) and Quora (2.4%) also have contributing shares.
SIGNING UP ON SHAPESHIFT AND SECURITY CONCERNS
There is no sign-up requirement on Shapeshift. Shapeshift does not retain data of its users, meaning you can be completely anonymous on this platform. You do not need to create an account or get it verified. You will receive an address to send your cryptocurrencies and you must provide the address of your wallet.
As Shapeshift was hacked in 2016, concerns regarding its security have been higher. Users are worried about storing their coins online, and they prefer to have them stored either in cold-wallets, or hardware/offline wallets. Shapeshift otherwise has no security concerns, since it does not deal with user information at all. It does not need to conceal the information or protect it, because there isn’t any to begin with!
CRYPTOCURRENCIES AVAILABLE ON SHAPESHIFT
Shapeshift is known for the variety of cryptocurrencies available on the platform. From Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Ethereum Classic, Ripple, Dash, DogeCoin, ZCash etc. It has a hub of ICOs and tokens, also available for trading. It supports hard-forks, hence the inclusion of – Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Gold (BCG) and Ethereum Classic (ETC). The easy availability of over 50 cryptocurrencies and ICOs, makes Shapeshift an attractive platform for users to convert their currencies into alt-coins.
FEES STRUCTURE OF SHAPESHIFT
Shapeshift fees have been a controversial topic in the past, many users on online forums blamed Shapeshift for charging huge amounts for conversions. Shapeshift sticks to its version of the story, that they only charge the miner’s fees, and nothing outside that, but users continue to remain dissatisfied despite regular clearance from Shapeshift. As every cryptocurrency mining happens using different algorithms, and different hash-rates, so the charges also differ.
To simplify the process, Shapeshift has given the entire list of the charges that they charge from the users, and some of the popular ones are – Bitcoin – 0.0006 BTC Bitcoin Cash – 0.0002 BCH Ethereum – 0.002 ETH Ethereum Classic – 0.01 ETC Ripple – 0.5 XRP Monero – 0.02 XMR These are the miner’s fee, instead of Shapeshift’s own transaction charges. Unlike other exchanges, that charge the users a fix amount on their transactions, Shapeshift charges different amounts, depending upon the currency you are trading in. And this is why some users are unhappy because depending on the price of the coin, these can be seen as very expensive.
Since Shapeshift does not allow Fiat currency deposits, nor does it allow users to buy cryptocurrency from Fiat currency, this eliminates the need ofr debit cards or credit cards. Even PayPal is useless here, as users need an existing cryptocurrency wallet to buy anything at Shapeshift, nothing else will allow you to buy on this exchange.
Lack of a live-chat support system has affected Shapeshfit heavily. Most of its users suffer because their grievances remain open and unresolved. The only way to contact someone at Shapeshift is by raising a ticket. After you raise a ticket, they will redirect you to the FAQ section, which has in-depth information about their portal. If you fail to find your solution there, you will have to wait for days before they reply with a genuine solution. Most of the time, they do not even bother to reply. Which forces the users to vent out their frustration on online forums and rating websites, understandably.
Shapeshift.ioShapeshift is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows for instant cryptocurrency exchange. It offers a wide range of altions however does not allow you to buy or sell using fiat currency, meaning first time investors, this isn’t for you. The main goal is to allow traders to switch between crypto assets simply and quickly. For more information into fees etc, read our the Shapeshift review.
Large selection of altcoinsHigh privacy standardsFast and easy transactions
Cannot trade fiat currency for cryptocurrencyNo transparency regarding transaction speeds and deposit limits
Despite a great business model and a smooth conversion platform, Shapeshift is also an instant exchange, just like Changelly. They allow anonymous registrations, and their customer support lacks speed and accuracy. Apart from focusing on their customer care team, they should also focus on increasing the security on their website. They also need to be clearer on certain aspects, such as the deposit or withdrawal limits. There is no information about the two anywhere on their website, which confuses the users.
Deposit limits only display when the user ‘tries’ to shift or convert their currency, and not before. If they take care of these petty issues, Shapeshift will surely continue to grow, as its user-friendly interface is really easy for the users.