Erik Voorhees: BitLicense Requires 'Reckless' Data Collection

ShapeShift founder and CEO Erik Voorhees discusses the company's new iOS app and its decision to stop serving the New York market.

AccessTimeIconJun 16, 2015 at 8:20 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 11:43 a.m. UTC

According to ShapeShift founder and CEO Erik Voorhees, the company’s recently launched iOS app “sailed through” the Apple App Store approval process.

“We were expecting quite a bit of pushback from Apple because there have been lots of these horror stories about bitcoin apps, you know, never getting past the bar,” he told CoinDesk. “And so we submitted it and crossed our fingers.”

Since its launch – notable for its release on an app platform known for its restrictive policy toward digital currency – the ShapeShift app has been downloaded more than 600 times, says Voorhees.

Issues with the app have been minimal, he continued, apart from a bug experienced by owners of iPhones running iOS 7.

“There was a bug with iOS 7 users which we had fixed and released updates for, so other than that little glitch everything went great,” he said.

On BitLicense’s privacy problems

ShapeShift recently made headlines after its announcement that it would cease offering services to New York residents as a result of the finalization of the BitLicense digital currency regulatory framework. In an interview with the New York Post, Voorhees described the customer data requirements imposed by the BitLicense as “Orwellian”.

New York users trying to access ShapeShift are instead directed to, a site that protests the BitLicense framework and currently lists ShapeShift as its sole participant.

Voorhees said that the biggest issue for his company is the risk to users whose information would be collected by regulators – an arrangement that he says exposes them to hacking vulnerabilities that could result in their data being stolen and exploited.

He added:

“It would maybe be a different story if, you know, companies and governments were able to retain secure records of things. But just last week, there were 4 million accounts [compromised] on several computers – it's every couple of weeks there's a big data breach somewhere.”

“So clearly the data security industry is not sufficient enough to protect customer information,” he continued. “And so, requiring that customer information be mined from people is reckless and dangerous and puts all those people at risk.”

Looking ahead

For now, according to Voorhees, the company’s focus is on building out its functionality further and completing a still-in-progress funding round.

"Development-wise we’re working on things that aren't super exciting for users, to get us better pricing, more functionality,” he continued.

As for the future of the protest against the BitLicense, Voorhees said he has heard from others in the bitcoin business ecosystem who are looking at taking a similar tack, noting:

“I got a couple contacts from today telling me that other bitcoin companies are basically saying they will do the same thing, block New York, but they weren’t sure when or how it would happen.”

Images via ShapeShift


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