At the recently held ETHDenver, ShapeShift CEO Erik Vorhees announced that his company would be undergoing a major rebranding exercise in 2019. The first step in this will take place on Monday, February 17, 2019.
During this time, the exchange will begin holding a closed beta programme where selected users will be invited to test out a new and improved version of Shapeshift.
The new version, Vorhees says, will focus on improving on the user experience. These improvements will include making the user interface simpler and synchronizing the use of all the exchange’s products including its cryptocurrency pricing tracker CoinCap. This Information was made available by the CMO of ShapeShift Emily Coleman.
Besides making this announcement, Vorhees also spoke at a panel focused on leadership “in times of ambiguity.” In this panel, he was joined by founder of cryptocurrency micropayments service Earn.com Lily Liu, CSO of ethereum venture capital studio ConsenSys Sam Cassatt, and co-founder of decentralized application platform Holochain Arthur Brock.
As part of the discussion, the panelists were asked what the hardest decision was that they have had to make in the running of the business.
“If you’re going to be a company in the crypto industry, you’re attached to the severe market cycles of the industry. That’s full of good and bad,” said Voorhees.
Vorhees, on his part, said that the hardest decision he had had to make was the introduction of know-your-customer protocols on the exchange last year.
“I felt like I had to do something morally wrong to allow the company to persist…It’s a really awful position to be in,” said Voorhees.
According to Vorhees, the decision was a hard one because he was personally against the idea of asking users to give up their personal information. He eventually conceded to the decision as a form of picking and choosing his battles and considering the long-term implications.
Despite the tough decision that was made, Vorhees is still confident that, in the future, people will be able to carry out transactions in a completely decentralized manner and without any censorship or interference.
“Society is comfortable about this idea that people should be able to talk freely with each other … the fact that money is treated differently is a huge injustice. I hope that crypto breaks that discrepancy,” he said.
Despite the CEO’s optimism, the company has faced some challenges in recent times, especially with having to lay off a third of its staff due to the crypto price slump.