The digital exchange ShapeShift was formed in 2014 and offers an elementary yet popular trading facility to digital currency traders. The exchange is built to offer enthusiasts a brisk marketplace where they can swap out digital currencies. Mostly bitcoin and ether are inter-traded on the site, although the company offers numerous coins for exchange.
Not a digital exchange in the sense of offering charting or other trading intel and with no leverage either, ShapeShift is rather a quick in-and-out site for existing cryptocurrency holders who want to trade for other cryptocurrencies. The exchange lists some 400 cryptocurrency pairs, although around a dozen are “unavailable,” at any given moment, unlike competitor Changelly, where things seem to run smoother.
The exchange doesn’t require that users register or identify themselves in any way. Not even an email address is needed to employ ShapeShift. Wallets pay wallets with the Swiss exchange acting as a facilitator.
Although the company allegedly charges no fees besides the miners fee, the reality is that users are taxed around 0.5 percent on trades. Traders can also take a “quick” order where they accept prevailing market price, or a “precise” order that buys or sells at a specific price.
ShapeShift Exchange Details
The exchange does have many happy and loyal users, but is typical of digital exchanges in that its name is constantly dragged through the mud for poor support. This is a valid complaint but, with that said, many do find the platform extremely useful, no matter that other models of digital coin exchange are known to be cheaper.
Daily volumes are high and, when it first emerged, ShapeShift was a singular offering lacking any real competition, and this has perpetuated its success to date. Although the company boasts average trading times measured in hundreds of seconds, the actual workings of the exchange have been heavily criticized in online forums as amateurish and desperately slow at times.
The site is particularly user-friendly for newcomers thanks to an incredibly simple build and intuitive layout. That said, the single biggest issue for many newcomers to digital coins is converting to fiat, and in this regard ShapeShift won’t be of any use. The exchange does not accommodate fiat currency transactions at all, although this is one reason why they are able to facilitate cross-border trading of digital assets.
ShapeShift remains a simple method of moving holdings between different virtual currencies. The company’s offer comes as a mobile app and deposits, trades and withdrawals are all in digital currency.
Security – a big exchange issue and foremost in the minds of consumers – is both trusted and also a far simpler issue on ShapeShift than with other exchanges. There are no weighty holdings of the company or users’ funds, and although complaints of phishing attacks abound, the exchange security has never been compromised, save one incident of employee sour grapes that appears to have been isolated and swiftly terminated.
The exchange is many enthusiasts’ default locale to anonymously and speedily exchange cryptos. ShapeShift has become an integral part of the cryptosphere, as it does allow users to move between platforms by swapping out tokens. For investors, logging onto the site affords the opportunity to expand and diversify a portfolio, while newcomers too can begin to branch out into alternative coin options once they feel sufficiently familiar with digital currencies.
ShapeShift Exchange Advantages
1. Speed is the major benefit of the exchange for many users is being able to quickly exchange digital coins. Savvy users tweak the process as far as possible in order to garner low fees, and many online comments are extremely positive and five stars applaud the platforms simplicity and effectiveness.
2. Anonymity as well as the lack of any red tape makes the site very appealing to those who prefer their currency dealings to be private, as originally imagined by Bitcoin.
3. The exchange’s global reach has enabled traders from all over the world to access the facility without fear of local regulation nor, for that matter, any overseas concerns either.
4. Prices are fixed when transacting and there is no slippage with ShapeShift. Users peg a specific exchange rate which is a “market rate” derived of several exchanges. These coin rates are constantly updated every 30 seconds onsite.
5. The ShapeShift mobile app has struck a chord with many particularly younger users. If anything, it would appear that mobile users enjoy even faster simplicity on the go. The mobile download performs with all the exchange features intact. The app is available to both iOS and Android users.
6. ShapeShift also pitches another handy app called CoinCap that provides market data on coin prices and market cap in real time. The website/app is integrated with the ShapeShift exchange, providing a next-level trading experience through combination.
7. ShapeShift also asks for user suggestions to expand the offered coin range.
ShapeShift Exchange Disadvantages
On the downside, even for a digital exchange, ShapeShift has picked up persistently similar user complaints. Chat rooms are littered with criticisms. Some of the most serious concerns are around being stung by hidden charges or exchange rates and failed transactions that are met with poor or absent responses from ShapeShift.
1. Prices are ostensibly fixed, yet far too many users complain of paying unexpected rates when transacting on the site. Either the site terms are not clear, or the exchange does its best to misrepresent true costs. Unfortunately, the latter seems the case, as only by ploughing through the FAQs can new users really get a handle on fees they can expect.
2. Although it seems like the same point, minor fluctuations most people can accommodate, but there are persistent allegations that the exchange’s commission actually ranges from around three to eight percent. At these levels, if substantiated, the exchange might well be guilty of rote misrepresentation, although the real issue is simply that with a more proactive and caring approach, these dark allegations wouldn’t persist.
3. There are no prices or rates listed on the site, although users can avail themselves of this via the ancillary app CoinCap.
4. There is no leverage available for traders to utilize on the ShapeShift exchange.
5. Also, no fiat currencies are eligible for any dealings on the exchange. Although this makes it a “pure” crypto site, it also limits newcomers who would otherwise possibly buy into digital coins through the exchange.
6. ShapeShift security is by many metrics good and the exchange is trusted to a large extent in this regard, yet it remains problematic that there is so little available intel on this aspect of operations. The company scores a zero in either transparency or marketing overtures, possibly both. This in an arena where companies get 100 percent plus for security or zero. ShapeShift borders on the latter, as beyond a mention of two-step authentication – which is now so standard as to be banal – the exact nature of storage on the exchange isn’t apparent.
7. Hot wallet facilities have to be in place behind the scenes to enable trading, and although some warnings on hot wallets make them sound completely permeable, the reality is that they are still secure wallets. With that said, ShapeShift is an “open” exchange in the sense that the interface is a fluid hot wallet that invites attention.
ShapeShift remains one of the bigger crypto exchange portals and millions of users have now been through their gates since opening. At least until they have a bad experience, most users trumpet the platform’s ease and convenience. The exchange model that allows for complete simplicity and anonymity has found wide appeal with users. Traders can take advantage of price movements on the go, and the platform has filled a niche and become a staple expectation of digital coin enthusiasts for it.
That said, although a sleek and supposedly professional offering, service and support remain sloppy at best and absent at worst, something totally unacceptable for at least as many other users who have been warned off by the negative press.
Any exchange, whether legacy or crypto, has a particular duty to conduct massively transparent and diligent affairs, and in this regard ShapeShift has the polish but not the mettle. Particularly as a few strong competitors are rising in the arena (and also very often making a better deal of things), it remains to be seen whether the company’s dominance will maintain.
Fees are calculated in the price given to a trader, but these can be higher than average, and for whatever reason, even surprisingly high. All of which points to a poor UI, and new users are advised to sample the exchange to build up a personal level of satisfaction with the company.