ShapeShift Enables NEO Support for Cryptocurrency Enthusiasts

It’s always good to see existing cryptocurrency services support new currencies. In the case of ShapeShift, they have been adding quite a few coins throughout 2017. It seems this trend will carry over into 2018, as the first new currency has been added already. NEO, one of the top 15 cryptocurrencies, is now available for trading on this platform.

Supporting different currencies is the bread and butter of ShapeShift. This service allows users to convert between different currencies without creating an account. Although it can’t be used for major transactions in one go, it has a certain appeal. Especially for users who don’t want to rely on regular exchanges, such a platform can make a big difference. After all, it is convenient, has low fees, and transactions are completed very quickly. Adding NEO to the list of supported currencies makes a lot of sense.

NEO Trading is Live on ShapeShift

As a result of this move, NEO can now be traded against all other supported currencies. This will give the popular altcoin a lot of new trading markets waiting to be explored in the future. Right now, trading NEO is somewhat limited to Bitcoin and Ethereum across most platforms. With ShapeShift, about 30 different combinations are added to this list as we speak. It is always good to have more options at one’s disposal, to say the very least.

As is always the case, it remains to be seen if this will generate more interest in NEO. While it is a popular altcoin, it’s not even close to rivaling Ethereum. That seems a bit odd, considering this altcoin refers to itself as the Ethereum of China. It will be interesting to see how the future plays out for this currency. Its value has gone up steadily throughout 2017 and that trend is still in place during the first week of the new year.

ShapeShift has quickly become one of the most popular cryptocurrency conversion services in the world. Their service is easy to use and a lot of currencies are supported as we speak. The addition of NEO will be beneficial to this company as well, in the long run. For now, it remains to be seen if there is sufficient demand to warrant this addition. Only time will tell if that is effectively the case.


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On CNBC’s Rundown, respected researcher, and financial analyst Ronnie Moas from Standpoint Research stated that in the long-term, the bitcoin price will likely reach $400,000.

“Bitcoin is already up 500 percent since I recommended it in the beginning of July, and I’m looking for another 500 percent move from here. The end-game on bitcoin is that it will hit $300,000 to $400,000 in my opinion, and it will be the most valuable currency in the world,” said Moas.

In July, Moas predicted the price of bitcoin to surpass the $5,000 mark by the end of 2017, when bitcoin was trading at below $2,600. As of December 18, the price of bitcoin remains above $19,000 and its market cap has surpassed $317 billion.

$400,000 Long-Term Target

Essentially, a $400,000 long-term price target of bitcoin would require the market valuation of the cryptocurrency to achieve exactly $8.4 trillion, a market cap that is larger than that of gold.

In 2013, Thompson Reuters GFMS revealed in a report that there exists 171,300 tons of gold in supply. That estimate placed the valuation of the gold market at $7 trillion. For the price of bitcoin to surpass $400,000, its market cap will have to surpass that of the gold market.

Previously, NewsBTC reported that JPMorgan global markets strategist Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou explained the potential of bitcoin penetrating into the gold market and establishing itself as the premier store of value through a drastic increase in liquidity and adoption.

Panigirtzoglou stated that the launch of bitcoin futures contracts and integration of the cryptocurrency by major financial institutions would allow bitcoin to compete against traditional asset classes such as gold. He stated:

“In all, the prospective introduction of bitcoin futures has the potential to elevate cryptocurrencies to an emerging asset class. The value of this new asset class is a function of the breadth of its acceptance as a store of wealth and as a means of payment and simply judging by other stores of wealth such as gold, cryptocurrencies have the potential to grow further from here.”

Bitcoin Already Penetrating Into Offshore Banking Market

As many analysts including Blocktower co-founder Ari Paul noted, bitcoin is already penetrating into the offshore banking market at a rapid pace, an industry which major banks such as JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs dominate.

The offshore banking market is estimated to be worth over $40 trillion, with the majority of holdings and wealth of large-scale investors and traders stored overseas. Paul emphasized that as a robust and decentralized store of value, Bitcoin is capable of serving the offshore banking market in orders of magnitude better than centralized financial institutions, as it provides financial freedom, privacy, and independence.

Over the next few years, if bitcoin can sustain its current growth rate as a store of value and a currency, the market cap of the cryptocurrency will likely enter the trillion dollar region.

In April, ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees, who has always been extremely optimistic in regards to the mid to long-term growth trend of the cryptocurrency market, explained that he would be satisfied if the cryptocurrency market cap surpasses $300 billion by 2021.

The bitcoin market cap has surpassed the $300 billion cryptocurrency market cap prediction by Voorhees, and the market valuation of all of the cryptocurrencies in the market combined has surpassed $587 billion.

Highly regarded Bitcoin Core developer and cryptocurrency consultant Peter Todd has criticized the cancellation of the SegWit2x hard fork and the “waste” of resources used throughout the development of the software.

Cancellation of SegWit2x

On November 8, the development and deployment of the SegWit2x hard fork were officially terminated, with the release of an official statement from BitGo CEO Mike Belshe to the SegWit2x Mailing List. The statement was co-signed by leading businesses within the bitcoin industry which participated in the original NYA or SegWit2x agreement, which included ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees, Blockchain CEO Peter Smith, Xapo CEO Wences Casares, and SegWit2x lead developer Jeff Garzik.

The statement read:

“Our goal has always been a smooth upgrade for Bitcoin. Although we strongly believe in the need for a larger block size, there is something we believe is even more important: keeping the community together. Unfortunately, it is clear that we have not built sufficient consensus for a clean blocksize upgrade at this time. Continuing on the current path could divide the community and be a setback to Bitcoin’s growth. This was never the goal of Segwit2x.”

As explained by Belshe, the initial objective of the SegWit2x team and its supporting companies was to carry out an upgrade on the Bitcoin protocol, without pursuing a contentious fork that could lead to the creation of a new cryptocurrency, like the Bitcoin Cash hard fork in August. However, over time, as the community continued to reject the SegWit2x software, the lack of consensus amongst businesses, developers, users, and miners within the bitcoin sector made it virtually impossible to carry out a smooth upgrade.

Criticism of Bitcoin Core Developer Peter Todd

Immediately after the cancellation of the SegWit2x hard fork was confirmed by ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees and BitGo engineer Jameson Lopp, Todd criticized the amount of resources and capital that were allocated to develop the SegWit2x software. He said:

“The 2X cancellation email was signed by Mike Belshe, Wences Casares, Jihan Wu, Jeff Garzik, Peter Smith, and Erik Voorhees, in case you were wondering who to send the bill for the millions of dollars worth of engineering time wasted on this mess.”

Whether the resources that were allocated into the development SegWit2x was a waste will be proven in the upcoming months. If SegWit2x has led the community to re-evaluate the necessity of onchain scaling given the high fees of the Bitcoin network at the moment, developers and businesses behind SegWit2x could consider the movement as a success.

In the meantime, businesses will likely move on to adopt and integrate SegWit, to allow users to experience reduced transaction fees SegWit provides. ShapeShift has already integrated SegWit, which was an important step for bitcoin considering that ShapeShift solely accounts for around 3 percent of the Bitcoin network’s transactions.

In the upcoming months, major companies like Bitfinex and Blockchain will likely integrate SegWit. Bitfinex has stated that SegWit integration is in progress.

There are many different types of scams in the world of cryptocurrency. Phishing sites are still the main source of concern and financial gain for criminals. Things are only complicated further thanks to paid Google Search ads which show up in people’s browsers. A phishing site mimicking ShapeShift has been identified as a Google Search result. It is easy to spot the fake ad, but some people will get tricked into visiting the site regardless.

Cryptocurrency users need to be on their toes at all times when searching the web. Bookmarking the sites you visit on a regular basis is the best course of action. Typing in addresses manually is prone to errors and may redirect people to phishing sites. Always be wary of Google Search results as well, as the first link is often a sponsored advertisement. Such is the case when conducting a  Google Search for ShapeShift. The first result is an ad for a phishing site.

Beware of the Fake ShapeShift Site in Google

It is not the first time criminals use Google advertisements to promote phishing sites. In this case, the site redirects to ShapeShifth.io, instead of ShapeShift.io. It is only a minor difference most people will not notice right away. Using the wrong site will end up in the money being stolen, though. The site looks and feels exactly like the real ShapeShift, which will make it more difficult for novice users to spot the fake one. It is unclear how long this advertisement has been showing up in Google results.

Cryptocurrency users are often targeted by criminals. Given the price appreciation of most top currencies, that is no real surprise. Phishing sites have always been a popular method of attack in this regard. One would expect cryptocurrency enthusiasts to know better than to fall for such blatant scams, but the reality is often very different.  Bookmarking the correct address is a viable solution to circumvent issues like phishing sites. It is now up to Google to get rid of this malicious advertisement.

This is not the first phishing attempt against ShapeShift or other cryptocurrency platforms. Exchanges are the most prominent target for cybercriminals in this regard. These platforms are frequently used by people from all over the world, which means there is good money to be made with copycat sites. It is unclear if anyone has used the fake ShapeShfit site and lost money because of it. Google has to step up its game to actively block such advertisements in the future, that much is certain.

In a rather surprising turn of events, hardware wallet manufacturer has been acquired. The company acquired a software wallet  a few years ago. Acquisitions are pretty common in the Bitcoin world these days. With Shapeshift now picking up the company, interesting things are bound to happen. The first priority is enabling real-time trading on KeepKey devices using the ShapeShift API. An interesting concept that makes hardware wallets even more convenient.

It doesn’t happen often we see a service provider buy a hardware-related company. Then again, ShapeShift has been making a lot of waves in recent months. The company provided instant cryptocurrency exchange services without requiring account registration. Acquiring KeepKey is not something most people would necessarily expect. Then again, it all appears to be part of the company’s expansion plan. Integrating all-time trading on Bitcoin hardware wallets will be an intriguing development, to say the least.

KeepKey Will Remain an Individual Brand

Cryptocurrency users often struggle to keep coins safe. Hardware wallets make a lot of sense in this regard. Unfortunately, most altcoins aren’t supported at this time. That will now come to change, assuming they will have a portion of Bitcoin in their KeepKey balance. The money can be exchanged to altcoins on demand. ShapeShift supports a few dozen different currencies, which opens up existing opportunities. A combination of hardware wallet and trustless exchange service will be quite spectacular.

It is worth mentioning the basics of this integration are already there. KeepKey integrated ShapeShift’s API not too long ago.  This means this process could be integrated  a lot sooner than people anticipate. KeepKey CTO Ken Hodler is quite excited about this acquisition. It will also guarantee the future of KeepKey as a company, in his opinion. This seems to indicate the company will keep working on its hardware wallet without any issues or hindrances.

So far, it appears the KeepKey brand will not go anywhere. That is positive news, as the brand is quite popular among cryptocurrency users. Additionally, this acquisition will provide additional capital for security expertise and further wallet development. It will be interesting to see if more cross-brand promotion between both companies occur in the future. A limited edition ShapeShift-themed KeepKey is not entirely out of the question at this stage.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

Everyone remembers the global WannaCry ransomware attack. During that incident, thousands of computers and servers around the world were impacted. The developers of this malware also collected a fair amount of bitcoins from their actions. It now appears all of the money collected has been converted to Monero. After all, Bitcoin lacks privacy and anonymity traits. Monero, on the other hand, provides exactly that.

It is always strange to note how ransomware developers demand a Bitcoin payment. It is normal they want digital cash of sorts that can be converted to fiat currencies around the world. However, Bitcoin does not provide the necessary anonymity to make this a successful venture. Anyone in the world can track down Bitcoin payments in real-time. That is unless you use a coin mixer of some sorts. However, finding a reputable service is quite challenging, to say the least.

WannaCry Proceeds Converted to Monero Through ShapeShift

Instead, the WannaCry ransomware developers emptied the Bitcoin wallets and converted the funds to Monero. These are the findings of Italian cryptocurrency intelligence firm Neutrino. Monero has a lot more benefits compared to Bitcoin. Especially in the privacy and anonymity department. Many people see Monero as a “powerful anonymization tool”. Tracking an XMR address is very difficult, if not impossible, according to the security firm.

It is not the first time Monero is tied to debatable online activity. The Shadow Brokers, a notorious syndicate of hackers, accepts XMR payments in exchange for their services. It seems some darknet markets are leaning toward integrating XMR payment gateways as well. One could argue the anonymity-oriented cryptocurrency simply makes more sense for people who have something to hide. There is a lot more to the project than just that, though.

What is rather interesting is how the bitcoins were converted to XMR. It appears the criminals used ShapeShift to do so. The company confirmed their services were utilized for this specific purpose. That is not a good sign for the company by any means. They are collaborating with law enforcement officials regarding the WannaCry proceeds, though. Very few people would’ve expected ShapeShift to aid law enforcement agencies. Then again, when push comes to shove, it is difficult to refuse the request.

The popular crypto-to-crypto exchange platform, ShapeShift has announced the successful completion of its latest Series A funding round for a sum of $10.4 million. The investment in Switzerland-based platform founded by Erik Voorhees was led by Earlybird Venture Capital and saw participation from the likes of Lakestar, FundersClub, Blockchain Capital, Pantera Capital and Access Venture Partners.

With the latest investment round, the total amount of funds raised by the company currently stands at $12.8 million. With the new influx of funds, the company intends to use it to expand the workforce and focus on the platform’s growth. ShapeShift already supports about 36 major cryptocurrencies including the likes of Bitcoin, Ether, and Dash. The instant conversion facility offered by the platform is popular among the cryptocurrency community, and the services are integrated by many crypto-platforms as well.

According to reports, ShapeShift will soon be launching two new exchange products later this year. The founder, Erik Voorhees explained ShapeShift’s journey through time to a startup and tech news portal. The publication quoted him saying

““When we started ShapeShift, a future world of natively digital assets was very theoretical. Yet this world is quickly arriving; one in which millions of forms of digital value, from access keys to tokenized derivative contracts to video game items, will trade between people and machines all over the world, every second of every day. Just as information has gone natively digital, so too now goes value. Bitcoin taught a skeptical world how to do it, and the gold rush is on.”

Voorhees started the platform in 2014, after selling SatoshiDice — a cryptocurrency gambling website in 2013 for 126,315 bitcoins worth $11.47 million at that time. Shapeshift has grown over the past three years and now the platform manages about 50,000 bitcoins a month. The platform stands apart from rest of the cryptocurrency trading platforms and exchanges as it follows a peer-to-peer approach enabling buyers and sellers to fulfill each other’s orders than having an entirely centralized setup.

The success of ShapeShift has caught up with the latest crypto-platforms as well. Many of them continue to implement ShapeShift’s services into their crowdsale and ICO campaigns.

Ref: Venture Beat | Image: NewsBTC

The cryptocurrency industry in India is on the rise. The country’s leading Bitcoin platforms have been introducing new features on a regular basis. Unocoin, one of the “Big Four” Bitcoin platforms in the country today announced a partnership with ShapeShift. The partnership will allow Unocoin to slowly extend its reach beyond just Bitcoin and start dealing with other cryptocurrencies as well.

According to the platform, Unocoin users will now be able to convert their blockchain assets like Ethereum, Monero, ZCash, Dash and other altcoins supported by Shapeshift to Bitcoin. The converted Bitcoin can then be traded for INR using Unocoin’s existing exchange service.

In the press statement, the founder of ShapeShift Eric Voorhees describes the changing cryptocurrency ecosystem by saying,

“When I was first got involved with Bitcoin in 2011, it was mostly a Western community. It’s been tremendously exciting to see Unocoin help bring this technology to India. ShapeShift is very proud to partner with them for digital asset exchange.”

In India, Bitcoin is a major cryptocurrency. Other altcoins are yet to make a mark due to various factors including the lack of domestic exchange and trading platforms that offer multi-cryptocurrency support. The inclusion of ShapeShift’s services makes Unocoin the first company to consider other cryptocurrencies apart from Bitcoin and Ether.

Sunny Ray, the co-founder of Unocoin was quoted in a media report stating,

“Many view Bitcoin as digital gold and we’re always looking for ways to make it easier for people to get into Bitcoin. Many people learn about Bitcoin through other cryptocurrencies, and once they do, we would like to give them an easy way to convert their blockchain assets into Bitcoin. In the meantime, we’re keeping a close eye on the open blockchain ecosystem and may or may not introduce deeper integrations in the future.”

Even though the recent partnership is a welcome development, the country’s cryptocurrency ecosystem still has a long way to go before it can support multiple crypto-assets. Even the latest ShapeShift integration doesn’t do much in terms of encouraging the use of alternative assets. However, it is just the beginning, and if Unocoin does take a step towards creating its own multi-cryptocurrency exchange, then it will probably be a different story. Unocoin is currently in a position to steer the Indian cryptocurrency ecosystem towards a whole new range of cryptocurrencies, which might be good news for the people of the world’s largest democracy.

Ref: DNA

The blockchain asset exchange platform ShapeShift  and the online bitcoin-enabled marketplace OpenBazaar have entered into a partnership via the former’s integration of the ShapeShift Shifty Button.

The integration paves way for transactions using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, EthereumZcashMonero, Dash etc on the platform. In simple words, customers will now be able to purchase from OpenBazar using digital assets.

Launched in April 2016, OpenBazaar is an open source project with the goal to create a decentralized, restriction-free network for peer-to-peer online commerce using bitcoin. The platform is different from its counterparts for instead of visiting a website, the program can be downloaded to directly connect you to other people looking to buy or sell goods and services.

“We feel a distinct kinship with the OpenBazaar project, both companies foster permissionless exchange between anyone, anywhere on Earth,” said ShapeShift CEO and Founder Erik Voorhees.

After the integration of Shifty ButtonOpenBazaar is now open to many other cryptocurrencies and not just Bitcon.

OpenBazaar CEO and Project Lead Brian Hoffman said that OpenBazaar had always wanted to enable its users to pay via cryptocurrencies and now finally Shapeshift has enabled them to do so quickly and easily. He further adds that the community has been waiting for this feature eagerly and they are happy to provide it through a great partner.

ThShapeshift Shifty Button generates an easytoimplement snippet of code in order to let the website accept various currencies as a mode of payment. The Button’s code is free and open source and has been integrated by dozens of bitcoin-friendly merchants to broaden customer payment needs quickly and easily.

The partnership has been appreciated alright with OpenBazaar taking home three of five awards during the 2016 Blockchain Awards in New York City in MayThe awards included ‘Best New Startup,’ ‘Bitcoin Champion of the Year’ and ‘Most Promising Consumer Application.’ They also announced $3 million in new funding this month, led by BlueYard, a Berlin-based VC, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square.

Seems in accordance with its tag of most talked about commerce projects in the blockchain space in 2016.

ZCash (ZEC), the private and anonymous cryptocurrency built over Bitcoin code has been gaining a lot of traction lately. The cryptocurrency community’s interest in ZCash has forced many companies to integrate it into their products. The latest ones to do so in the past couple of weeks include Jaxx— the blockchain wallet platform and Shapeshift — the crypto to crypto exchange.

With the inclusion of support for ZEC, the total number of cryptocurrencies supported by Jaxx blockchain wallet now stands at nine including Bitcoin, Ethereum, DAO, DASH, Augur REP, Litecoin, Ethereum Classic, ZCash and Rootstock. On a mission to become a one point blockchain interface, Decentral is in the process of continuously adding new cryptocurrencies to the wallet application. Jaxx is available for everyone irrespective of the operating system or the device they own. The application is available for Android, Apple OSX/SierraOS, Chrome, Firefox, Linux and even iOS. However, the iOS version of Jaxx has limited support for cryptocurrencies due to Apple’s strict policies. Users can only access Bitcoin, Ethereum, DAO and Litecoin support features on their Apple iPhone apps.

Shapeshift, the leading online cryptocurrency exchange platform also announced the inclusion of ZCash support late last month. With the inclusion of ZCash, the total number of cryptocurrencies supported by the platform now stands at thirty-nine. Users can exchange any of the 38 listed cryptocurrencies for ZEC and vice versa.

In its blog, Shapeshift quotes the co-founder of ZCash — Zooko Wilcox explaining the cryptocurrency,

“Zcash is a new technology that lets you put encrypted data into a blockchain. Blockchains as they currently exist, don’t offer much (or any) control over the disclosure of the data that you put on the blockchain. Any data that you put in there is visible to all users of the blockchain. Zcash makes blockchains useful for a whole range of applications that the cleartext, fully transparent blockchains cannot be used for; including fintech, healthcare, retail (buying/selling goods or services), etc. “

Freewallet.org, the cryptocurrency mobile wallets developer recently enabled users to purchase ZEC with credit cards on its platform.

Ref: Shapeshift | Decentral | Image: NewsBTC