The news that Shapeshift is to move to a full custodial model, requiring KYC for anyone who wishes to swap cryptos, has sparked a wave of protests. Many users have vowed to take their business elsewhere. For cryptocurrency holders seeking a non-custodial exchange, there are several Shapeshift alternatives to choose from, with varying degrees of privacy.
Shapeshifting Into a Custodial Exchange
Swapping cryptocurrencies should not require KYC any more than swapping a dollar bill for quarters. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way. In transforming into a custodial exchange, Shapeshift has lost its defining feature that was so pivotal in its success. The vast majority of users didn't choose Shapeshift for nefarious purposes: they chose it because it was convenient. Having to send money to a cryptocurrency exchange, wait for funds to clear, set a market buy order, cash out, and then complete the withdrawal process simply to jump between cryptocurrencies is a chore. Shapeshift promised to do the same job in minutes, with no questions asked.
On crypto Twitter, some people poked fun at Shapeshift's rebrand
Reading between the lines, it appears that Shapeshift's hand was forced by US lawmakers, likely with the threat of subpoenas and prosecution should it fail to change its business model. That being the case, it should be noted that any other US-based Shapeshift competitor is liable to meet a similar fate when it's built up enough business to attract the attention of US prosecutors. For now, at least, the following services provide an alternative means of switching between cryptocurrencies such as BCH, BTC, and ETH.
While Shapeshift was mocked for its rebrand, its defenders opined that the company had little choice