By CCN.com: With the bitcoin price trading above $8,000 once again, the mainstream financial media has once again taken an interest in cryptocurrencies. ShapeShift CEO and Founder Erik Voorhees was featured in an interview with Bloomberg where he confronted the bitcoin bubble debate and regulation. While the ecosystem is evolving since Voorhees first entered the space, as evidenced by regulators now participating in industry events, Voorhees isn’t uncomfortable with the direction in which it’s going.
“I want crypto to be a big tent. I want the whole world to be using it. And most of the world doesn’t think like I do. So I’m glad to see people of diverse opinions starting to use this stuff. I’m glad that people are building out in different directions. And I think ultimately that makes it stronger and more resilient.”
The ShapeShift CEO is an early “bitcoin believer” who as the Bloomberg host pointed out has been supporting the industry since 2011. Given his history with crypto, he’s seen bitcoin bubbles come and go, so the volatility in the price is not shocking to him.
“There have to be bubbles in crypto because crypto is taking over the world, and it’s not going to just advance 5% a month without end. If it did that, people would start buying it up and frontrunning it and turning it into a bubble. So there’s no way to go from a zero dollar asset to one that is worth trillions without…massive speculation and massive volatility and cyclical bubbles.”
ShapeShift is still dealing with the fallout from a controversial move related to know-your-customer standards. Considering that KYC laws require users to register their real identities, this change clearly doesn’t jive with ShapeShift customers who previously had more privacy. Voorhees still believes in financial privacy, but it remains what he describes a “minority position.”
Voorhees tried to pass off the need for more information as part of a membership loyalty program. It offers rewards, such as discounts and higher transaction limits, to users completing KYC.
When asked how that is working out, Voorhees simply said:
“It’s been rough. Ultimately we built a model meant to encourage user privacy. We think that people have a right to financial privacy. And it also just made it less friction so people would arrive at the site and convert one asset for another.”
He compared the early ShapeShift to going to the airport “where you can walk up with your euros and turn them to dollars and they don’t ask you for ID there either.” ShapeShift was designed to be “useful and simple for people,” so the integration of KYC was a “difficult change.”