Katherine Wu, director of business development and community at Messari, talks about the news that everyone on crypto Twitter was discussing this week: Shapeshift’s decision to require customer accounts. The well-known crypto-to-crypto exchange has long been known for enabling anonymous transactions, and CEO Erik Voorhees is a noted libertarian who prefers less rather than more regulation, so the reversal was surprising to many in the crypto community. Katherine explains her theory as to why Shapeshift will be instituting customer accounts now after so many years of not requiring them, why this wasn’t an easy decision for Erik to make and how Erik’s personal history of run-ins with the law may have influenced this decision.

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Episode links:

Katherine Wu: https://twitter.com/katherineykwu

Messari: https://messari.io https://info.shapeshift.io/blog/2018/09/04/introducing-shapeshift-membership/

Unchained interview with Shapeshift founder and CEO Erik Voorhees: http://unchainedpodcast.co/shapeshifts-erik-voorhees-on-how-crypto-will-separate-money-and-state

Katherine’s tweet storm: https://twitter.com/katherineykwu/status/1037315100326158338

Jake Chervinsky’s tweet storm: https://twitter.com/jchervinsky/status/1037334799382401027

Erik’s tweet about how everything he writes is being read closely: https://twitter.com/ErikVoorhees/status/1037070392140083200

For more on the alphabet soup of regulators covering crypto, check out this Unchained with Perianne Boring and Amy Kim of the Chamber of Digital Commerce: http://unchainedpodcast.co/the-chamber-of-digital-commerces-perianne-boring-and-amy-kim-on-why-us-crypto-regulation-is-complicated-and-confusing

Shapeshift’s announcement about its new chief legal officer: https://ag.shapeshift.io/press-release/shapeshift-hires-new-chief-legal-officer/

Bloomberg article on Shapeshift’s U-turn on accounts: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-05/crypto-world-rocked-after-long-time-advocate-voorhees-backpedals