Andrew Munro is the global cryptocurrency editor at Finder. After previously writing about insurance and other areas, he now covers the latest developments in digital assets and blockchain and works on Finder's comprehensive range of guides to help people understand cryptocurrency.
Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific
provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.
There are no fees other than the platform trading fees.
Deposits, withdrawals and transactions only take place as you make a trade. The cost for this is built into the platform trading fees.
How fast will my funds be available?
The average time to complete a trade will vary depending on the cryptocurrency, your chosen miner fees and the state of the network at the time.
The average processing time is shown on the ShapeShift site. It's often about 10 to 20 minutes. This is how long it will take to complete a trade end-to-end.
It can be tricky to use ShapeShift directly from a Coinbase wallet, or any other exchange's wallet. This is because ShapeShift is a non-custodial platform, where you don't actually deposit coins prior to trading, and exchanges like Coinbase typically apply a transaction fee when you send coins out of them.
You'll need to account for this transaction fee before you try to trade your coins through ShapeShift. This calculation can sometimes be quite unintuitive, so it's important to proactively look at how much you'll lose to transfer fees en route.
If you don't factor this in, your transaction might get temporarily stuck because you haven't deposited enough funds to cover the cost of your order on ShapeShift.
If this happens to you, your funds should be refunded after 48 hours, when ShapeShift cancels the transaction.
Is ShapeShift safe to use?
Regulation. ShapeShift works to comply with all applicable regulatory requirements and to meet its legal obligations. It is a registered business with a transparent and well-known team behind it and a wide product range that crosses the crypto ecosystem. The KeepKey hardware wallet, for example, is a ShapeShift product.
Verification. ShapeShift has traditionally been known as a destination for anonymous trading that doesn't require account creation, but at the end of 2018 it ended this practice to more proactively meet its legal obligations. Users are now required to create an account and to provide some personal information in order to trade on ShapeShift.
Security features. ShapeShift regularly undergoes penetration testing and follows cryptocurrency security best practices. Most significantly, it does not hold customer funds except as needed to facilitate transactions. This means you don't have to make a deposit and then leave your crypto sitting around on the exchange where it might be at risk of theft. If ShapeShift gets hacked, your funds are likely to be safe.
The ShapeShift hack and its reputation
ShapeShift was hacked several times in 2016, losing the equivalent of a few hundred thousand US dollars at the time. It was alleged to have been an inside job.
No customer funds were lost, rather, all the stolen cryptocurrency was ShapeShift's own. ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees later pointed at this as evidence that the non-custodial exchange design worked as it should.
Sign up to start trading and to get some additional perks. You will need an email address and will also need to choose a password.
Before trading, users will need to provide some personal information. The amount of information and verification procedures required may vary over time and will be highlighted after creating an account.
You can reasonably expect to have to provide similar details to ShapeShift that you would need to provide to other exchanges, including a driver's licence or passport as well as other identification documents.
ShapeShift is a veteran cryptocurrency exchange. It was founded by Erik Voorhees in 2013, and is headquartered in Switzerland but based largely in Denver.
It was one of many crypto companies to withdraw from New York when the BitLicense was introduced and has a reputation for pushing back against what it perceives as regulatory overreach.
In a nutshell
Non-custodial exchange. ShapeShift does not hold customer funds, which delivers tangible security benefits.
Good rates. ShapeShift charges about 0.5% in spreads and a negligible flat miner fee. This is a competitive price relative to other exchanges that offer similar broker-style non-custodial crypto trading.
Upcoming membership rewards. ShapeShift is gradually rolling out a membership reward scheme based on the FOX token.
Slow trades. At the time of writing (February 2019), it takes an average of 25 minutes to process a trade, which is much slower than other exchanges.
Varying fees and coins. The fees, liquidity and cryptocurrencies available on ShapeShift can vary considerably day to day.
Compare ShapeShift against other exchanges
Frequently asked questions
XRP wallets must hold a reserve of at least 20 XRP. This is a deliberate anti-spam mechanism to prevent the XRP blockchain from getting too large.
Functionally, this means
XRP wallets must have at least 20 XRP in them at all times. You cannot overdraw beyond that.
The minimum deposit for sending money to an empty XRP wallet is 20 XRP.
You'll need to be mindful of this when using ShapeShift to exchange XRP. If your destination XRP wallet is empty, you'll be buying at least 20 XRP (plus a tiny bit more for transaction fees).
ShapeShift serves customers all over the world, but reserves the right to block users in certain locations. For example, customers in New York State are IP geo-blocked if they try to use the exchange.
Yes. You can download the ShapeShift exchange app for iPhone and Android.
ShapeShift's verification process is undergoing renovations, but is generally equivalent to other exchanges in that it requires you to provide some personal details and documents to verify them.
ShapeShift aims to provide a high level of customer service. You can visit the help desk to submit requests or reach out on social media.
Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly
volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of
future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information.
You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory
requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may
have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.
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