If you’re a Bitcoin maximalist, kindly avert your eyes. For those of you who have an altcoin habit: Cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift's recent purchase could be a new way to get your fix.
For many of you, bitcoin was the gateway drug to speculating in altcoins. That’s obvious when you look at the high number of fiat pairings, which allow investors to buy bitcoin with most country-issued currencies. By comparison, altcoins suffer from too few fiat pairings, meaning to buy many off-brand coins, you usually have to go through bitcoin. And buying a range of altcoins can involve using multiple exchanges, each of which charges its own withdrawal fees, adding up to additional transaction costs.
The Switzerland-based crypto converter ShapeShift, which already offers a popular and consumer friendly way to transfer one coin for another, thinks there’s a better solution: Through its Aug. 7 purchase of Austin, Texas startup Bitfract, it’s allowing users to select as many as 60 different kinds of altcoins and add them to a kind of basket of crypto—in one, simple bitcoin-based transaction. Shapeshift will make its money on the exchange rate, which the company claims will be around 0.5% over the going rate.
Bitfract proved to be irresistible to Shapeshift because it offered its customers the ability to trade bitcoin into dozens of digital assets in a single transaction—something that was utterly unique in the crypto world and of growing interest to consumers.
“We had the ‘one-to-many’ concept on our feature roadmap for the last year—it was requested by users on a regular basis,” says Emily Coleman, CMO of Shapeshift. “When we met the Bitfract team and reviewed their service and how it integrated with our API, it seemed to be a natural partnership.”
She said the service will be integrated into Shapeshift's product in the near future but will continue via Bitfract's site for now. Via the Bitfract tool, a user specifies their wallet address, which of more than 60 altcoins they want, and how much of each. Then they make one transaction and their bitcoin is swapped for as many altcoins as they desire.
We apologize for feeding your habit.