Shining Light on WSJ’s Attack on ShapeShift and Crypto 2103

Erik Voorhees is among the top-recognized serial Bitcoin advocates and entrepreneurs. He founded ShapeShift in August 2014 as an elegant, secure, and fast solution to digital asset exchanges. Erik has been a featured guest on Bloomberg, Fox Business, CNBC, BBC Radio, The Peter Schiff Show, and numerous blockchain industry conferences. His past affiliations include: BitInstant, Coinapult, and SatoshiDICE, which was responsible for most of the world’s Bitcoin transactions in 2012 and 2013.

Post Synopsis

  • ShapeShift has been the subject of claims from the Wall Street Journal related to money laundering
  • We have worked with the journalists for 5 months under false pretenses
  • The WSJ omitted relevant information
  • The WSJ forwent a chance to prevent potential illicit activity
  • ShapeShift is designed to protect users and their privacy and we do not transact in fiat
  • We publish every single transaction conducted on the platform, making all of them traceable
  • The authors do not have a sufficient understanding of blockchains and our platform in particular
  • The claims made are factually incorrect and deceptive
  • ShapeShift has an industry-leading compliance and AML program
  • We’re here to build a better financial system

ShapeShift has been the subject of claims from the WSJ related to money laundering

This past Friday (9/28), two reporters at the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published an article, “How Dirty Money Disappears Into the Black Hole of Cryptocurrency.”

The article begins as follows: “A North Korean agent, a stolen-credit-card peddler and the mastermind of an $80 million Ponzi scheme had a common problem. They needed to launder their dirty money. They found a common solution in ShapeShift.”

The article then describes the WSJ’s attempt to analyze two years of blockchain data, concluding (wrongly) that $9m was laundered through the ShapeShift platform. The article singled-out ShapeShift and implied that the company is a bastion of illicit activity because it hadn’t previously required user information–despite that same data showing that other exchanges (which did take user information) had similar figures.

Overall, the article contains factual inaccuracies, omits significant details about how ShapeShift operates, and reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how blockchain transactions work.

We have worked with the WSJ for 5 months under false pretenses

The WSJ reporters reached out to us months ago asking for friendly assistance on a piece about the crypto industry in general. Over a period of five months, we were open and accommodating of their questions while in contrast they misrepresented their intentions until very recently. Of the many things I communicated with them over the past months, they included not a single statement from those lengthy discussions, preferring instead to include out-of-context remarks I’d made elsewhere.

The WSJ omitted relevant information

Let’s instead look at the actual facts, which ShapeShift shared with the WSJ through multiple phone calls, in-person meetings, and emails, but the WSJ decided to exclude from their article; facts such as:

  • $9m (even if it was true) is 0.15% of ShapeShift’s exchange volume during the described time period;
  • We have a strong record of complying with law-enforcement requests, providing valuable assistance in over 30 investigations in 13 different countries all over the world;
  • We work with other exchanges on an almost-daily basis to identify and block thieves and criminals, through a self-policing group ShapeShift created to protect the users and industry;
  • We block entire countries on the sanctions lists;
  • We have an internal anti-money laundering program that uses blockchain forensics that are far more advanced (and we would argue, effective) than asking someone for their “name and address”;
  • We blacklist suspicious addresses upon learning of them.

There is no mention of any of this in the WSJ article.

The WSJ forewent a chance to prevent potential illicit activity

The WSJ reporters withheld information for months about suspicious accounts in order to build their story, rather than communicating it to the appropriate exchanges and ShapeShift immediately so that funds could be frozen or blocked. It is likely victims of these thefts lost their chance to recoup some of the funds due to this opportunism.

ShapeShift is designed to protect users and their privacy and we do not transact in fiat

Unlike most other exchanges, ShapeShift is a crypto-to-crypto, non-custodial platform. We don’t take custody of user funds, but instead swap our own assets for theirs, at a set price. We don’t touch fiat currency, so users cannot swap their dollars/euros/yen for our Bitcoin/Ethereum/Dogecoin. Not a single dollar, euro, or yen has ever been laundered through ShapeShift. It can’t be done.

We publish every single transaction conducted on the platform publicly, making all of them traceable

From ShapeShift’s beginning, it has had a unique model — one which respects user privacy, and yet one which is transparent about all transaction details. To date, ShapeShift remains the only financial company in the world that publishes all transactions that go through its platform. It was this very feed of public information which the WSJ relied upon. Perhaps the irony is lost on the WSJ, but the WSJ would have been unable to do this kind of investigation with any other crypto exchange, because they aren’t transparent in this way.

The WSJ did not have a sufficient understanding of blockchains and our platform in particular

Blockchains and cryptocurrency represent a new, fast-evolving technology and industry. For those who are not real experts, it can be confusing. And the WSJ reporters appear to have gotten confused about how our platform functions. Based on our own analysis of the transactions cited in the article, the WSJ erroneously attributed vast sums of allegedly illicit transactions to ShapeShift in a way that exhibits a profound failure to grasp how blockchains, in general, and our system in particular, really work.

The claims made are factually inaccurate and deceptive

For example:

1) The authors allege this address is a suspicious person. 1AE2cBJDn4cuLCR6RPESpqdaDXdZwhgUya

2) On 9/20/17 this person sends 0.0959 BTC ($600) to another address, which is an exchange (someone other than ShapeShift) 18G8Mf61kFFDt9AVLUdvh1xTUYrLDny6T4

3) Nearly a year later, on 7/13/18 this 18G8 address sends a batch transaction out of its wallet. As part of the batch, 11 BTC ($70,000) is sent to ShapeShift’s address:
1NSc6zAdG2NGbjPLQwAjAuqjHSoq5KECT7 This 11 BTC is not a user sending funds to ShapeShift, it is one of our exchange partners sending BTC to us.

In other words, $600 of suspicious funds were sent to an exchange that wasn’t ShapeShift. Because ShapeShift happens to be a customer of this same exchange–10 months later in a completely unrelated transaction–the exchange sent funds to ShapeShift. The authors didn’t understand how to properly read the blockchains transactions, so they assumed there was $70k in “dirty money” sent to ShapeShift.

Allegation: $70,000 laundered by ShapeShift
Reality: $0 laundered by ShapeShift

We’ve found numerous other examples. We asked the WSJ to send us the specific transaction ID’s that they are claiming as received by ShapeShift, but the analysis we’ve been able to do thus far indicates the WSJ has made wildly inaccurate assertions. As of this writing, the WSJ has been unwilling or unable to send the requested transaction data necessary for us to do a more fulsome analysis of their assertions.

ShapeShift has an industry-leading compliance and AML program

Contrary to the portrayal in the WSJ piece, ShapeShift has always sought to comply with those laws that apply to its unique business model. Crypto being a new technology and the Bank Secrecy Act being a relatively old law, there are rational and strong legal arguments that ShapeShift is not subject to the “Know Your Customer” rules found in the BSA. Indeed, in part because of this legal uncertainty, we have sought clarification from regulators and have implemented KYC in the interim. That is, despite the fact that ShapeShift operates in a world of unclear and changing regulations, we have built an industry-leading compliance program:

  • We have been working with inside and outside legal counsel for years in addressing regulation appropriately, particularly in the US and Switzerland
  • We have an industry-leading Anti-Money Laundering compliance firm checking all our transactions
  • We have a Chief Legal Officer with 20 years of regulatory experience at leading law firms
  • We have a Chief Compliance Officer with 6+ years of compliance experience
  • We monitor addresses on our blacklists to prevent known illicit transactions
  • We have announced mandatory KYC for all users of ShapeShift

All of the above was done upon thorough, thoughtful, and extensive legal and business-risk analysis in the interest of mitigating perceived threats.

We’re here to build a better financial system

The WSJ article’s implication that ShapeShift is somehow negligent or complicit on this issue of money laundering is false and absurd; emblematic of a media industry that cares more about clickbait sensationalism than it does about improving the financial state of mankind. But we should not expect the Wall Street Journal to change Wall Street.

An objective observer will find no complacency here; ShapeShift’s record (based on facts) compares favorably against any peer, within the crypto industry or without.

Ultimately, we are trying to pioneer a new financial system, and we don’t expect to be loved by the proponents of the old. That’s understandable. Yet ShapeShift has always been in favor of complying with the laws of the jurisdictions in which it operates, even though many of these laws are unclear, ever-changing, contradictory, and in some cases ineffective.

We will push forward, and we’d suggest the WSJ change their title to be more accurate and objective, “Less than two tenths of one percent of ShapeShift’s business might be illicit.”

-Erik Voorhees
CEO ShapeShift

Previous ArticleNext Article

Leave a Reply

Massa Ecosystem’s Recent Hypergrowth Analyzed 2960

Massa’s testnet has become a magnet for more than 16 projects since its launch back in July 2021. Interest towards this innovative blockchain ecosystem has exploded since the beginning of this year. But what is it that makes Massa special?

Massa is an innovative blockchain network that aims to combine high performance with true decentralization from the ground up. The Massa testnet allows anyone to experiment with the protocol and witness its continuous improvements first-hand.

One of the main reasons why Massa attracted so many web3 pioneers in Q1 of this year is that it solves the common challenges that most Layer 1 blockchains face, such as high fees, low throughput, and centralization risks. Furthermore, Massa enables both developers and users to participate in the network governance and support the vision of a fully decentralized future.

The web3 community has clearly recognized the ultimate potential in Massa. The positive feedback from crypto developers reflects the values of the Massa core team, which is fully committed to creating a truly decentralized future. Blockchain developers are very selective and they prefer to build on blockchains that have set a clear goal to remain independent and free from any central authority. This might also explain why Massa has attracted so many projects on its testnet with only a modest seed round of 5 million USD. Unlike most Layer 1 blockchains that depend on millions of USD in ecosystem funds to lure projects, Massa’s organic ecosystem growth is remarkable.

What makes Massa’s vision so attractive to web3 developers?

Massa is a project with a dual vision for Web3’s future. It aims to provide a scalable and reliable infrastructure that allows dApps to operate in a fully decentralized and censorship-resistant manner. It also wants to ensure that smart contracts can survive on the blockchain even if the project that created them goes out of business. To make this possible, Massa hosts smart contracts on-chain and makes them serverless forever.

Additionally, Massa makes it easier for web2 developers to join the web3 movement. It uses AssemblyScript as its smart contract language, which lets any web developer write and deploy smart contracts with no extra hassle. Massa also has some unique features that distinguish it from other blockchains, such as autonomous smart contracts and web3-on-chain. These features make the network more attractive and powerful for both developers and users. The team hopes that Massa will be the platform where some of the most innovative and impactful dApps will emerge in 2023.

The perks of building projects on a supportive network

It’s important to also note that Massa is attracting more and more attention by offering customized support for every project and developer who wishes to join and contribute to its ecosystem. Projects can contact the Massa community tech support, which consists of easy-going and helpful people who are ready to assist newcomers to learn the basics of the technology. The official Discord server welcomes any questions.

The Massa team has set up two main support types geared towards projects that wish to build on the Massa chain:

Grants

Funding for projects is open to anyone in and around the community. All that is required is a creative idea. The team has the ability and desire to offer some financial assistance to the most innovative projects.

Incubation

Providing guidance for projects that require grass-roots assistance, such as initial funding or developer resources. The Massa team will evaluate the projects with strong long-term potential and determine if they meet the criteria for joining the Massa mentoring program.

Massa also offers a range of other services to projects in development, such as:

  • Advice on legal issues
  • Help with the incorporation process
  • Access to useful development resources
  • Additional funding opportunities
  • Marketing services
  • Support with creating a pitch deck, business model and tokenomics

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it is worth remembering that the team behind Massa has solved the blockchain trilemma, thus creating a network that is secure, scalable and decentralized all at the same time. This is a real innovation in the blockchain space and it’s no wonder that the developers around the world are beginning to notice and want to join the Massa ecosystem.

Spark Protocol Announces Integration of Chainlink Price Feeds in First for MakerDAO Ecosystem 2978

Spark Protocol, a protocol powered by MakerDAO, the long-standing DeFi lending protocol behind the DAI decentralized stablecoin, announced today that it has successfully integrated the DAI/USD, ETH/USD, and stETH/USD Chainlink Price Feeds. In doing so, Spark Protocol is bolstering its oracle infrastructure with the industry-leading decentralized oracle network and pioneering the first integration of Chainlink Price Feeds in the MakerDAO ecosystem.

Sam MacPherson, CEO of Phoenix Labs said: “The integration of Chainlink Price Feeds was essential to bringing Spark Protocol online in a timely manner. We feel there is mutual benefit in continuing to build a relationship with Chainlink. Spark is all about openness and collaboration.”

Phoenix Labs is one of the contributors to Spark Protocol. Spark offers the lowest interest rates in DeFi through the D3M (DAI Direct Deposit module). Chainlink Price Feeds are integrated into the protocol’s lending protocol—Spark Lend—to help underpin its lending and borrowing services, which require high-quality price data to reliably price collateral value.

Johann Eid, VP of Go-To-Market at Chainlink Labs, said: “The ongoing collaboration between Chainlink and the Maker ecosystem is a huge win for DeFi. Both Chainlink and Maker are pioneers in this space, and the work being done across both ecosystems will help to ensure the continued success of not only DeFi, but the broader industry as well.”

This integration of Chainlink Price Feeds follows Maker’s integration of Chainlink Automation as part of its Keeper Network in February 2023.

About MakerDAO

MakerDAO is the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that powers the longest-standing DeFi lending protocol and enables the creation of DAI, the original decentralized stablecoin.

Governance of MakerDAO is completely decentralized, with proposals tabled and voted on by the Maker Community, comprising people from all over the world. Utilizing an embedded governance mechanism, the decentralized and self-sustaining Maker Community holds sole authority to enact changes to the Maker Protocol through on-chain voting, using the native governance token, MKR.

For more information about MakerDAO, visit makerdao.com.

About Spark Protocol

Spark Protocol is the underlying infrastructure for Spark Lend, a decentralized lending marketplace for supplying and borrowing crypto assets with a special focus on DAI. The Spark Protocol launch is part of the Endgame Era, a long-term restructuring improvement proposal for the DAO.

For more information about Spark, visit sparkprotocol.io

About Chainlink

Chainlink is the industry-standard Web3 services platform that has enabled trillions of dollars in transaction volume across DeFi, insurance, gaming, NFTs, and other major industries. As the leading decentralized oracle network, Chainlink enables developers to build feature-rich Web3 applications with seamless access to real-world data and off-chain computation across any blockchain and provides global enterprises with a universal gateway to all blockchains.

Learn more about Chainlink by visiting chain.link or reading the developer documentation at docs.chain.link.

Adam J Ford: Setting the Golden Standard for Brokers at Wise Holdings 2956

Adam W bitcoin on stock market display screen 2022 12 15 22 32 09 utc

Adam J Ford is making waves in the financial world as a trusted advisor and mentor to many aspiring traders and investors. With over 12 years of experience in the industry, Ford has become a household name in the crypto market and has set a golden standard for brokers at Wise Holdings.

Born and raised in London, UK, Ford’s passion for finance and economics led him to attend New York University, where he earned a degree in finance. He then started his career on Wall Street as a junior analyst at a prominent investment bank and quickly worked his way up the ranks.

With his early years on Wall Street, Ford gained a deep understanding of the financial markets and honed his skills in risk management and portfolio diversification. He quickly became known for his ability to identify undervalued assets and make profitable trades, earning him a reputation as one of the top traders in the industry.

As digital currencies began to gain popularity, Ford saw an opportunity to expand his expertise and help others achieve financial success in the crypto market. He became a crypto trader and started his own advisory firm, offering personalized investment strategies and support to clients looking to make money in the crypto market.

One of Ford’s greatest strengths is his genuine care for his clients and his commitment to helping them achieve their financial goals. As a broker at Wise Holdings, he takes the time to understand each client’s individual needs and risk tolerance, crafting a tailored investment strategy that aligns with their goals. He provides ongoing support and guidance, regularly reviewing portfolios and making adjustments as needed to ensure clients are on track to reach their financial goals.

Dan, one of Ford’s clients, shared his experience working with him, saying, “Adam has been a game-changer for me. His expert advice and guidance have helped me achieve financial success beyond my wildest dreams. I feel that he genuinely cares about me and is committed to helping me achieve my goals. I couldn’t be more grateful for his expertise and support.”

Today, Ford works at Wise Holdings, a thriving advisory firm, and has a reputation as one of the most trusted and successful crypto traders in the industry. He continues to help clients make life-changing money in the crypto market and is passionate about helping others achieve financial freedom.

In Adam’s own words, “I love what I do, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to help my clients… It’s not just about making money; it’s what you choose to do with it that counts. “

In a world where the financial markets can be confusing and overwhelming, Ford provides a beacon of hope for those looking to make smart investments and achieve financial success. With his expertise, guidance, and unwavering commitment to his clients, he is helping to shape the future of the crypto market and create a better financial future for all.

Symmetry Launches Revolutionary Platform for Decentralized Crypto Indices and Actively Managed Funds on Solana 3067

Today marks a groundbreaking step for decentralized finance (DeFi) on the Solana blockchain as Symmetry launches its highly anticipated User Interface at https://app.symmetry.fi/.

The platform aims to revolutionize the way users manage their portfolios through crypto indices and actively managed funds by providing an all-in-one solution for creating, managing, buying, and selling funds.

Symmetry is a decentralized Crypto Indices and Actively Managed Funds infrastructure layer built on Solana, powered by the Symmetry Engine. This innovative on-chain asset management infrastructure covers everything from on-chain funds, indices, and multi-token liquidity pools, to liquidity routing between indices and decentralized exchange (DEX) aggregators, and public APIs for other DeFi projects to integrate Symmetry products seamlessly.

The platform offers a wide range of opportunities for both fund managers and users. Managers can create and manage funds with multiple tokens that reweigh, rebalance, and refilter according to custom rules defined by the manager, or create a trustless Crypto Index with predefined rules. Users can create their own actively managed funds or indices and buy and sell funds created by other users or protocols.

Symmetry’s liquidity provision feature allows indices and actively managed funds to act as liquidity providers on DeFi aggregators such as PRISM and Jupiter when their token weights deviate from the target weights. This groundbreaking feature not only enables funds to rebalance at zero cost but also generates fees from aggregator users for fund managers and holders, a significant departure from traditional approaches where indices and funds typically pay fees on exchanges to rebalance.

The Symmetry Engine relies on Pyth, a reliable price oracle, to determine true prices for each asset utilized in Symmetry products. This is crucial for funds to accurately determine fund values, rebalancing triggers, and buy/sell values for users.

Example use-cases for Symmetry include decentralized index fund apps, decentralized fund management apps, treasury management tools, retail onboarding apps, copy-trading apps, and investing apps. The platform envisions a future where anyone can create an index fund, manage on-chain funds and portfolio strategies, convert wallet portfolios to funds, and integrate index or actively managed fund tokens for trading.

With the launch of the Symmetry User Interface, the world of decentralized finance on the Solana blockchain is poised to experience a paradigm shift in how users interact with and manage their crypto portfolios. As the platform continues to roll out its full suite of features to all users, the future of Solana DeFi looks brighter than ever.

New DeFi Protocol, FORGE․SX, Offers Stocks and Other Synthetic Assets on Blockchain Ecosystem 3290

Individuals seeking to trade real world assets on the blockchain will have a new ally with the launch of the Forge.SX DeFi protocol.

With the convenience of a blockchain-based platform, Forge.SX empowers anyone to mint and trade synthetic versions of real-world assets with the convenience of blockchain technology. There are a number of assets available in the protocol, including commodities, stocks, and even foreign currencies. Popular stocks such as fTSLA are already available on the platform. Several plans are already in motion for the addition of additional stocks in the future.

According to the core team, the reason for offering mint trade of stocks and other synthetic assets is as follows: “As seasoned crypto investors, we understand the value and potential of synthetic assets on the blockchain and want everyone to have access to global financial markets and mint synthetic digital assets regardless of their financial status. Synthetic investments like stocks are among the most valuable. Although risks are involved in stock investment, because the market is regulated, they offer greater reassurance for cryptocurrency investors. We also wanted to diversify the assets available on the platform to attract new investors who are interested in yielding returns with Real World Assets.”

The assets on Forge are called fAssets and can be forged and burned in the Ovens by anyone. As standard ERC-Tokens, assets can only be minted against collateral deposits. Traders can begin by opening an oven using USDC as collateral for the creation of synthetic assets. The crypto trader may then burn the fAssets minted by closing the oven, and they will be able to recover the collateral that has been locked.

Forge.SX is supported by a reliable Oracle data feed that connects the world of Blockchain to the Forge.SX platform. A competent and experienced team is also available at the company, with a strong background in Dapp development and DeFi. In order to provide traders with the best service in the industry, Forge.SX consistently performs research and development. Core Forgers said: “We do our finest to bring safety and value to our investors and remain transparent to inspire confidence in our business model and the future of synthetic assets.”

To learn more about Forge or to start trading real-world assets such as stocks on Forge SX, please visit: https://forge.sx/

$C4 Investing, a unique business model 3065

real_4551a7

The Cardano Crocs Club is an innovative project that has created a token-based economy through staking on the Cardano blockchain. However, as more projects start staking and creating tokens, the purpose of staking can become unclear. To turn a token into a widely-used currency, it is important to create a real-world use case for the token that goes beyond simply staking it for rewards.

Net Technology, the parent company of the Cardano Crocs Club, has taken a unique approach by investing real EURO into ready-made projects, which are then developed. This creates a real business ecosystem that uses the C4 token as a means of exchange and value preservation. By using the token as a payment method for all ready-made projects, there is a real use case for the token that can potentially drive adoption and demand for it.

Creating a network effect is crucial for driving the adoption of a token. When more businesses and projects accept a token as a payment method, it can increase the token’s visibility and perceived value. This, in turn, can lead to more people wanting to hold and use the token, which can potentially increase its value over time.

Net Technology is also committed to creating products and services that will continue to provide value in the future. This can help to ensure the longevity of the ecosystem and the token. By backing sustainable and profitable businesses, they are creating a solid foundation that can support the growth and adoption of the C4 token.

In conclusion, the Cardano Crocs Club is taking a unique and promising approach to creating a token-based economy that goes beyond simple staking. By investing in ready-made projects, creating a real business ecosystem, and backing sustainable and profitable businesses, they are creating a real-world use case for the C4 token. By driving adoption and demand for the token, they are creating the potential for it to become a widely-used currency.