You know that saying, “If you love something, set it free . . .”? Yeah, I know, it’s a bit cringy and cliche, and most certainly overused. If you peel away its overly emotive artifacts, what it really means is, everyone wants freedom, choice, and liberty. As humans, we respond well to those who respect our liberty and reject efforts to take it away.

Since January of this year, ShapeShift has been on a continual journey of returning as much self-sovereignty as possible to our users in the services we provide. We have always been focused on that mission since our inception, within the necessary confines of being a corporate entity that provides crypto exchange services. But, sometimes those confines are too restrictive, and you just have to think outside of the box.

We love our users, and they love the freedom we provide. The changes we have made since January have resulted in a 1,122% growth in monthly trading volume.

What Did We Do to Empower Our Users? 

First, in early January we integrated our platform with 0x, a decentralized exchange aggregator (DEX). This enabled us to discontinue our market exchange trading for ETH and ERC-20 assets so that we could provide more expansive access to the world of DeFi and stop the unpopular and invasive practice of gathering personal information from our users. With FOX Tokens earned on trades, Rainfall rewards, and no added commissions, we were then able to provide users with the lowest rates on trades (even better than going direct to the DEXs). The results were immediate. We felt the love with a 3x growth in trading volume in the first month alone. We quickly added new users, warmly welcomed back previous users (“ . . .and it will return to you”), and saw loyal ShapeShift traders ramp up the volume. 

But, there were still boundaries: users could not trade across blockchains or trade native Bitcoin without ShapeShift as the intermediary, thus requiring KYC. So, ShapeShift forged into uncharted territory as the first major exchange or wallet to integrate with THORChain to enable cross-chain swaps, trustlessly, without KYC. Even more users embraced our platform—we saw users active on our platform increase thereafter by 90%. 

We then offered even more flexibility by bringing DEX to our web platform and enabling wallet choice: users of our web platform could use Trezor, Ledger, KeepKey, Portis, and ShapeShift Native wallets, enabling THORChain trades from the KeepKey hardware wallet, and this brought in a 498% increase in assets received through connected wallets. 

If it sounds like these numbers are “all about us,” then read on. Our growth is important, but it is only part of the story. Making our platform stronger and more successful helped us set the stage for our next move.

One Final Step to Give ALL the Power to the Users

While we had offered as much sovereignty over trading as possible, we realized there was one radical step further we could take to give all the control to our users, many of which had been loyal to us since our beginnings in 2014. 

In July 2021, we announced that we would be giving control of the company to the holders of the FOX Token by executing the largest airdrop in history and beginning the transition of the company toward a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). The best way to serve the decentralized ecosystem is to be decentralized, eschewing the confines and limitations of strict corporate hierarchy and welcoming all the innovative minds into the fold.

ShapeShift decided to become borderless and open, aligning it with the ethos of crypto.

While it is still early, we are seeing our community embrace this new direction. The community is growing rapidly on Discord and all social media platforms. Many governance proposals have been submitted and passed, and we have begun regular governance meetings. We are seeing people outside of the previous ShapeShift organization begin to take assertive roles in moderating discussion, submitting proposals, and driving productive conversation on how we can continue to make our platform and community stronger, more effective, and more accessible to those who wish to be in control of their own financial futures. 

In total, since we began returning control, privacy, and choice to our users, we have seen a 1,122% growth in trading volume. We believe it is just the beginning; we are creating an open-source “people’s platform,” and it is clear that setting people free to trade when, where, and how they want to and letting them drive innovation is the best choice. We are giving our users sovereignty over their financial future and pioneering a new model of economic organization. THANK YOU to those who have joined us on this journey; it is just getting started.