Cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift has acquired Israeli non-custodial wallet provider Portis.

Founded in 2018, Portis is a non-custodial software wallet that was first integrated into ShapeShift last November as part of the exchange’s pursuit of self-custody solutions that don’t require traders to use a hardware wallet. 

Speaking to Cointelegraph on April 15, ShapeShift founder Erik Vorhees revealed that following the acquisition, ShapeShift users will have integrated access to multiple decentralized finance (DeFi) applications and services. Meanwhile, Portis users will be able to log in with their Portis wallet and trade cryptocurrencies on ShapeSift commission-free. 

Migrating "away from fiat and banks altogether"

Portis co-founder Scott Gralnick told Cointelegraph that, back when Portis first launched, Metamask had been the only non-custodial solution in the ecosystem. “Creating something and only relying on Metamask, with the multiple steps it took to set up, was unacceptable. The idea behind Portis was to build something anyone could use,” he said.

Offering a self-custody solution was “non-negotiable,” Gralnick said, yet its construction required a tricky balancing act between security and useability. 

At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the volatility and fault lines in the global economic order, Gralnick pointed to Portis and ShapeShift’s shared commitment to paving the way for the creation of a borderless financial system founded on open, decentralized protocols: 

“It’s a big goal and it won’t happen overnight,” he said, though the development of such solutions at ShapeShift is “certainly moving the needle in the right direction.” Self-custody, in his view, is key.

Reflecting on what the current conjuncture’s political, economic and civic challenges could mean for the digital economy and the blockchain sector in particular, Vorhees noted:

“The central banks of the world have demonstrated that the economic system built around them can only be supported by printing money. This will feel good in the short term, like a dopamine rush, but in the long term could lead to the decline of fiat currency. Cryptocurrency, explicitly designed to prevent debasement, stands ready to help the world migrate away from fiat and banks altogether.”

Making non-custodial services more competitive 

As reported, ShapeShift has been working towards supporting new features such as debit card purchases of crypto and more broadly, tackling some of the cost and liquidity disadvantages typically associated with non-custodial platforms.

To this end, the exchange recently released an ERC-20 loyalty token, FOX, that enables traders to trade on the platform at zero commission.