Image from Bitcoinist
A recently published investigation by the Wall Street Journal may have caused a negative effect on the public’s perception of cryptocurrencies. In the article, they claim that ShapeShift, a global trading platform for digital assets, has laundered more than $90 million in dirty money. The accusation, however, has been easily dismissed by ShapeShift’s founder, Erik Voorhees, as a ridiculously false report that was completed under pretentious and unethical journalistic practices.
According to Voorhees, they have cooperatively worked with the journalists from WSJ for about five months since they had good faith about WSJ’s true intentions. They even went far by accommodating all their requests for information and by sharing helpful details so that the reporters could get a better grasp of the blockchain technology and the cryptocurrency world. As it turned out, WSJ already had a story in mind with a perceived goal to taint the crypto industry by focusing its attacks on ShapeShift in particular.
Voorhees also points to the drastic consequences of WSJ’s decision to withhold information from them just to make a noise in the headlines. Such an opportunistic move on the part of Wall Street Journal has actually paved way for the conclusion of the suspected laundering activity. If only the reporters have disclosed their true intentions and informed the management about the presence of suspicious accounts, ShapeShift could have immediately made the necessary precautionary measures such as freezing their account and blocking the transactions.
It has to be noted that ShapeShift has a proven history of offering efficient, reliable, and trustworthy crypto exchange services. Their system works without the need for taking custody of their users’ funds and no kind of fiat transactions even happen in their platform. ShapeShift merely swaps their own digital assets with those of their users at a predetermined price. Thus, it is very ridiculous to claim that millions of dollars are laundered by the company when they don’t even touch a single US dollar or any other traditional currency.
Furthermore, ShapeShift maintains a very distinct model which contrasts to other exchanges operating today. According to them, they put high regard to their users’ privacy. Despite this important feature, they are the only financial company all over the world that is able and willing to publicly publish all kinds of transaction that occurs in its platform. WSJ would not have been able to carry out their investigation if ShapeShift tried to hide something from them, right?
Other crypto insiders and experts consider this move by the WSJ to affect the public’s perception of cryptocurrency. As a new development in technology and as a revolutionary change in the financial sector, it is understandable how most people would try to stall its growth. How do we expect to read honest and factual articles from reporters who are not even completely knowledgeable of how crypto and blockchain works?
As Heidi Hecht points out, mainstream media outlets, politicians, and journalists who are antagonistic to the blockchain cause have been consistently placing crypto in the bad light. He argues that traditional banks are even more notorious when it comes to protecting the privacy of their customers, abiding by government regulations, and preventing money laundering activities.
As a matter of fact, traditional banks have been consistently involved in a number of scandalous issues that amount to trillions of dollars across the globe. As a case in point, HSBC has been suspected to help Nigeria’s former dictator in robbing the country of around $4.3 billion. Even Danske Bank is now experiencing troubles concerning the recent laundering crime that amounts to more than $234 billion.
The amounts stolen and laundered through traditional financial platforms are much more significant than the alleged stolen funds from crypto exchanges such as ShapeShift. But why do publishing companies, media outlets, and government institutions single out on crypto businesses? Don’t they realize how much safer our assets could flow and be maintained using the blockchain technology? Or do they simply reject the idea of growth and would rather protect the current yet unequal scheme of things?