In protest against the potential implementation of BitLicense 3.0, ShapeShift decided to stop its operation in the Big Apple.

The company informed its customers about the decision on Twitter

“We either would have to do something we're not comfortable with or leave New York," ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees told CNBC. "It's a moral and ethical stand we're going take.”

ShapeShift is a digital currency exchange founded in 2014. It allows customers to exchange digital currency without an account or a sign up process. The company is registered in Switzerland.

The company’s goal is to provide the fastest, the most private and the most convenient way to switch digital currencies while keeping the exchange rate competitive.

As a newly formed company, ShapeShift attracted the initial funding from a group of investors. The group includes Roger Ver, a bitcoin evangelist, and Barry Silbert, a bitcoin entrepreneur and SecondMarket CEO. The Bitcoin Capital fund headed by an early bitcoin enthusiast and Russia Today’s host Max Keiser claims that it had invested considerable amount of money into ShapeShift.

Shapeshift decided to leave New York after the publication of BitLicense 3.0. The New York Department of Financial Services published a new version of the regulation on 4 June. According to this document, Bitcoin companies are no longer required to check every application update with the department. NYDFS also addressed the problem of “double licensing” and some other issues that were a subject of heated discussion in the bitcoin community. 

However, BitLicense 3.0 requires Bitcoin exchanges (like Shapeshift) to implement Know Your Customer practices.

“Ultimately, we believe that prudent regulation will be important to building greater consumer confidence in digital currency and sparking wider adoption,” the spokesman for the New York Department of Financial Services told CNBS.

Earlier, Benjamin Lawsky, NYDFS superintendent, explained to CoinFox that the department officials used bitcoin industry leaders’ feedback during their preparation. He named Jeremy Allaire, Brian Forde and experts from Ripple among the contributors.


Roman Korizky