Making Self-Custody Easy: ShapeShift Acquires Portis

Building a Unified Login for Decentralized Finance

Erik Voorhees
Published in
4 min readApr 13, 2020


There’s an important axiom in crypto: “not your keys, not your coins.” Its meaning is simple: if you don’t have custody of the private keys which hold your digital assets, then you are beholden to a 3rd party. You have access to your assets only with their permission.

Why is this important to understand? Because for the world’s new financial system to be honest, open, and resilient, it must be sovereign down to an individual level. Every person on Earth must have the ability to interact openly, without political prejudice or arbitrary restraint. When you control your own keys, you are expressing this virtue.

But self-custody isn’t a panacea: it is hard from a UX perspective. At least, it has been. Our mission is to fix that, which is why we launched the new last July. It’s a true self-custody platform for your digital wealth.

ShapeShift today has announced our acquisition of Portis, an Israeli startup that built the leading Web3 wallet SDK for developers of crypto applications to easily integrate wallet functionality into their product. Portis accomplished three important objectives:

1) Client-side encryption, ensuring full self-custody.

2) Incredibly easy login, using the familiar email and password.

3) A focus on developers with a beautiful SDK for seamless integration.

Portis’ wallet provides a very simple and easy UX for end-users of crypto, but their actual target customer is other developers: the thousands of talented engineers all over the world building the future of finance, including most of the leading DeFi projects. Any developer can build their app with Portis’ wallet component, saving them time and complexity, while maintaining fidelity to self-custody for users.

We were, in fact, one of these developers; ShapeShift integrated Portis’ wallet SDK into the new platform last November. Before Portis, users could only use our platform with a KeepKey, Ledger, or Trezor hardware wallet. After Portis, hardware was no longer necessary, and it quickly became the most popular way to interact with ShapeShift.

So we loved their software (and their team!), but why did we acquire them?

With the acquisition, we’ll be able to unify the Portis wallet with our ShapeShift users.

  • Every ShapeShift user will be able to log in to most leading Web3 applications like OpenSea, Augur, and Uniswap.
  • Every user of those DApps will be able to get access to commission-free coin conversions on all major chains (not just Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens), and super fast fiat-to-crypto via a debit card.

Soon, you’ll see “Log in with ShapeShift” all over the DeFi ecosystem, and the assets you have on the ShapeShift Platform will be magically available wherever you log in.

And all while retaining control of your keys.

We’re thrilled to bring the Portis team into the fox family, and will be further expanding the Portis SDK functionality in the coming months.

If you haven’t tried the new, now would be a great time to experience easy self-custody and zero-commission trading.

And for the devs out there, build your Web3 DApp faster with

In Liberty,

— Erik Voorhees

Explore the ShapeShift Platform — the best way to manage crypto.
Create a verified account & get 100 FOX Tokens to start trading without commission, spread, or trading fees.

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