In a recent Off The Chain podcast with Anthony Pompliano, Erik Voorhees, Founder & CEO of ShapeShift, discussed what lies ahead for fiat currencies, his opinion on regulations, KYC and AML, how Bitcoin is gradually becoming popular, and Bitcoin taking over the entire financial system.
ShapeShift is a Switzerland-based cryptocurrency exchange platform that was founded by Voorhees in early 2014.
Touching briefly on the history of the company, Voorhees told Pompliano that he originally created ShapeShift “to be able to convert Bitcoin into another coin as easily as possible.”
New episode with @ErikVoorhees!
We discuss the early days of Bitcoin, how he built Satoshi Dice, what ShapeShift does, how Erik thinks about KYC, AML & other regulations, and what he's most excited about for Bitcoin in the future.
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Initially built as a tool, ShapeShift grew quickly as the number of cryptocurrencies and blockchains began to increase and, in the span of just five years, grew from a “little side project” to a company that currently employs 75 people.
Future of fiat currencies
Voorhees believes that in about 20 years, fiat currencies will be “mostly gone,” due to Bitcoin becoming a preferred store of value in the coming years.
He said that as the digital currency “takes over,” people are likely to put their money in assets like Bitcoin and not in “debaseable” assets.
“So a dollar in any fiat currency is highly debaseable. They are debased as a matter of course and policy, and people just will, at the margins, tend to avoid those things and hold their value in something like Bitcoin,” he added.
Voorhees sees this as a good way to prevent the government from inflating currencies. As a result of this, he says, “governments will have to shrink.”
He further discussed the idea of Bitcoin as a “borderless global currency,” reducing the need for currencies differing based on location.
Voorhees also stated that he sees Bitcoin eventually taking over the entire financial system.
“I see the place of the crypto industry as basically building the alternative system to the Fiat and banking system,” he added.
The ShapeShift CEO believes in protecting his customers’ privacy. He feels that personal information like a customer’s name, address, or phone number is not required to trade cryptocurrency and can actually put that person at risk.
“If we take [that information] then we are endangering that person because now their personal information is getting broadcast across the internet,” Voorhees explained.
“I’m very vehemently opposed to having to take personal information from people. We did it, not because we want to but, because we were forced or compelled to do it.
“And so that’s been, you know, that was a huge struggle for us as a company and me personally, but that certainly changed the business.”
Speaking about governments’ insistence on KYC (know your customer), Voorhees noted that “governments want financial institutions to basically spy on people for them.”
“They want companies to basically be part of their surveillance apparatus and they force, through law, companies to do this.”
Bitcoin steals the limelight
Voorhees shed some light on how he thinks Bitcoin has enabled the word ‘finance’ to be used in normal everyday conversations.
Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency industry, and especially Libra, has introduced the term ‘fiat’ to politicians and economists, he said.
“They’re [politicians and economists] talking about the attributes of money. They’re getting worried that someone like Facebook is coming out with the currency because it could compete with the dollar and harm monetary policy,” Voorhees added, discussing the effects that cryptocurrency will have on the economy.
Furthermore, he stated that Bitcoin and Libra will be “villainized by economists and politicians” as the next recession sets in, in an effort to perpetuate the fiat banking system.
Voorhees said that he considered Binance and Coinbase important companies in the cryptocurrency space, in terms of the effect they have had in terms of their reach and the number of people brought into the industry.
In his opinion, “the US has been much more tolerant of Bitcoin than many of us feared back in the early days.”
Voorhees noted that if Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies can become mainstream and gain control over the financial system in a good way, “that’ll be like an inoculation against that kind of vilification.”