Erik Voorhees: Transitioning From Analog to Digital Finance

Published on
January 28th, 2021
54 minutes

Erik Voorhees: Transitioning From Analog to Digital Finance

The Interview - Crypto ·
Featuring Erik Voorhees and Raoul Pal

Published on: January 28th, 2021 • Duration: 54 minutes

Erik Voorhees, CEO and founder of, joins Raoul Pal, Real Vision CEO, to discuss Shapeshift, the transition to a digital currency world, and some of the most exciting projects in crypto. Voorhees shares that Shapeshift was created when he realized that, for the industry to grow, people needed an easy way to swap between digital assets. He believes that society is actively transitioning from an analog fiat system of finance to a digital currency and blockchain one, and he has worked to support this transition with Shapeshift. Voorhees thinks that decentralized exchanges like Uniswap are some of the most important projects being built in crypto today, explaining that it’s critical to be able to trade in a decentralized and permissionless way. Filmed on January 20, 2021.

Key Learnings: The crypto ecosystem is still very young, but society is actively transitioning its financial systems to it. In order for this transition to happen fully, the sector needs to develop permissionless and decentralized infrastructure such as decentralized exchanges. These noncustodial exchanges are valuable to the security and permissionless nature of the system as a whole.



  • SR
    Samhit R.
    21 February 2021 @ 12:24
    Noble goals? They want the rules to apply only to the masses. They want to control the regulatory system by staffing humans who they can corrupt and control with their defunct ideologies.
  • LH
    Lee H.
    9 February 2021 @ 06:24
    The more companies/people adopt Bitcoin the safer it becomes, Thanks Michael Saylor and thanks to Elon Musk for adding an extra layer of security to the blockchain.
  • DM
    Dominic M.
    4 February 2021 @ 07:27
    Erik is so dang thoughtful and smart. He's been a light in the space for a long time. I'd love to see RV have him on again.
  • WB
    Warrick B.
    4 February 2021 @ 06:59
    Quant Network is interoperability, Raoul knows !
  • AP
    Angela P.
    3 February 2021 @ 11:56
    Great information. Thank you, Raoul for educating people on the next technological revolution. Very exciting times, indeed!
  • CD
    Christopher D.
    2 February 2021 @ 04:14
    One of your best guests so far!
  • jb
    joseph b.
    2 February 2021 @ 03:12
    A breath if fresh air. I have loved Erik's perspective for years. Having been in crypto since 2011 I remember buying and selling on I pay my plumber in crypto. It is definitely incumbent to promote and build out "our" own system. Every day we get stronger and they get weaker. Erik supplies a much needed focus on the ethos. The whole reason for crypto is not found in charts. It is found in the desire of the human heart to be free. Humanity can only be free with sound money. Millennials are now the largest demographic in the US. The boomers are fading fast. (disclosure I am a boomer) Boomers are analog and the younger generations are digital. Most boomers cannot make the leap. I encourage all the younger people to embrace not only the financial aspects of crypto but the ethos as well. The future belongs to the young and totalitarianism is creeping ever faster. Thanks Erik
  • RM
    Russell M.
    1 February 2021 @ 20:55
    Great survey of the crypto landscape, implications, pitfalls and promisses.
  • TP
    Timothy P.
    28 January 2021 @ 19:02
    Dear easily offended by facts - this post contains them. You've been warned... RV Crypto -- all "Bitcoin Maximalists" all "Tribalism" every time. I don't know why Raoul enjoys perpetuating the slur coined by ETH founder Vitalik Buterin, but I suspect it has to do with his holdings at this point, having exhausted any other probable motivation. Erik makes good points about crypto and Bitcoin, because he's been around for a long time - as have I. My only problem is Real Vision doesn't inform their users about the history of their guests - whether its a badly-performing hedge fund manager, or in this case, someone who has had a checkered past in crypto. TOXIC FACTS SECTION - WARNING - FACTS MAY BE FOUND HERE: Preamble: I judge people by the company they keep. Erik has been friends with and in the company of Charlie Shrem and Roger Ver, (... and more bad actors in the space.) 1. Charlie Shrem served time in jail for malfeasance due to transfers to Mt Gox 2. Roger Ver, a former convict of the California Prison System who has also been involved in a mimicry attack (among other activities) against Bitcoin 3. Erik made several appearances on the "Bruce Wagner Show" - and individual who eventually did a runner with funds during the "Bitcoinica" scam 3. Erik himself has had a large fine from the SEC due to soliciting US Citizens improperly for a funding scheme 4. Erik was part of the "New York Agreement" a cabal of miners and influencers determined to undermine the deployment of Segwit - which ultimately failed 5. Erik was the founder of Satoshi Dice - and while Raoul found this aspect of illegal gambling funny, here's a few technical details why his operation was harming Bitcoin in the early days: (Courtesy of Greg Maxwell, BTC Dev) a) Satoshi didn't forsee the non-economic-to-spend-txout problem b) A solution was formulated, but would be perceived as an "attack" on SatoshiDice (Thanks, Erik!) c) Satoshi Dice produced outputs that cost more to spend than they are worth (The number of transactions isn't what is important to scaling - the number of OUTPUTS is.) d) Satoshi Dice produced "dust" that bogged down the blockchain (Approx 48% of blockchain storage at the time was being used by this operation - a clear abuse.) e) While the miners don't care, it costs the whole network by pushing those externalities to the user f) Using the blockchain as a communication channel (Which is what SD did) was a horrible way to use a shared resource 6. One of Erik's companies was in the "Panama Papers" dump, which was used to expose those who used a shady legal scheme to conceal shell companies. He of course claims innocence to this allegation. Erik isn't pure as driven snow, and the people he associates with are of a quality that I find -- as charitably as I can put it -- "Dubious" at best. END OF TOXIC FACTS SECTION I just wish Real Vision would use their moniker as I expect - vetting guests and telling their users about their prior financial shennanigans before foisting them on crypto/financial newbies. Enjoy.
    • TT
      Tokyo T.
      28 January 2021 @ 23:50
      Well said, RV need basic background checks. Why glorify the criminals who exploited Bitcoin in the early days purely for personal profit at the expense of the entire Bitcoin project.
    • Se
      Sandra e.
      28 January 2021 @ 23:54
      Thank you for sharing. I agree that 'Real' Vision has an inherent duty to address the history of those being interviewed...or perhaps just not interviewing them. Red flags went up in my mind when Erik spoke about living in Dubai and then Panama. I question the credibility of Real Vision having read this post.
    • SA
      Sanne A.
      29 January 2021 @ 11:34
      Instead of discussing anything that was said you seek to discredit the conversation by questioning the interviewee's character. That is quite low and disingenuous. The backgrounds of people do not matter - it is the open exchange of ideas that matters. All this post does, is tell me how easily you get offended by terms like Maximalist and Tribalism.
    • ND
      Nivtej D.
      29 January 2021 @ 17:30
      Thanks for your post - not toxic facts btw lol just more info for debate and discussion.
    • TP
      Timothy P.
      29 January 2021 @ 17:51
      @Sanne A - So why do people have CV's when applying for a job? Background matters. Why do people ask questions of others when on a date? Background matters. You have zero to say about what I presented, because all of these things are true. RV's usage of "Bitcoin Maximalist" - the slur coined by ETH founder Vitalik Buterin could stop - but they choose not to. I wonder why? Maybe Raoul's 35% allocation to ETH? He certainly hasn't replied directly, even though he could. If you don't like my posts, downvote and move on - your petulant whining isn't going to change what is true.
    • MC
      Maxim C.
      1 February 2021 @ 02:18
    • TP
      Timothy P.
      1 February 2021 @ 17:24
      @Maxim C - Oh, I see. I had no idea facts were so dangerous for you to read. As for me "derailng Bitcoin", you're grossly misinformed. I have a full appreciation for Bitcoin, just like I have an appreciation for well-formatted text and clearly articulated ideas. But, seeing how you support Ver, I can only guess you're wedded to his trainwreck of BCash (BCH). Those followers are particularly odd to me, since his token is an obvious mimicry campaign that has gone awry. Only a matter of time before Bitmain dumps those bags...
  • mp
    michael p.
    1 February 2021 @ 09:25
    Raoul @ 46.40. "the faster we build it out the harder it is to stop".
  • DJ
    Dennis J.
    1 February 2021 @ 03:17
    His comment/analogy at minute 34 about why video chat works but money doesn't was like a bomb going off.
  • ZW
    Zi W.
    28 January 2021 @ 18:48
    I would love to see Raoul interview Andreas Antonopoulos. I would pay good money to see it.
    • DB
      Dr B.
      31 January 2021 @ 11:16
      I'd like to see a discussion between Andreas and Michael Saylor, on the values and future of Bitcoin and crypto.
    • TS
      Thomas S.
      1 February 2021 @ 01:52
      Agree. Nick Szabo would be even better, but small chance Wei Dei even better, but no chance
  • TX
    Ticker X.
    30 January 2021 @ 19:04
    Thanks fellas, excellent exchange of information. All the best to Erik w Shapeshift. UNI to the moon!
  • SO
    Steven O.
    30 January 2021 @ 19:02
    Successful CBDCs will be anonymized like Monero. Similar game theory to BTC geographical bans. Censorship immunity and finite supply also have the same game theory. CBDCs that lack one or more of those features will lose to CBDCs that have all 3. For more info on this game theory, I’m at @Bridge_Monetary and on the Bridge Monetary Policy podcast.
  • BD
    Ben D.
    30 January 2021 @ 14:41, next big dex and foundatiion for deFi. has every govt fiat as stablecoins, crypto, commodities, and more to be added as it grows. eth gateway in testing NOW and working as intended. securing chainlink oracles with PoW, scaling UniSwap with 1/10 cent conversions, no collateral or counterparties, no ceo, no ico, regulaton proof. lots to get excited about with the continued development of the pegnet
  • TV
    Tyrell V.
    30 January 2021 @ 11:39
    From an international relations theory perspective - multipolar worlds are never great due to the security dilemma and increased conflict and competition, but actually this period we find ourselves in now actually should allow Bitcoin enough space to survive a government or organised globalist agenda ban; the prisoner dilemma is much higher and so should allow continued adoption. If Bitcoin came about during the Cold War or even the early 90’s the story could be different. I agree with Erik that in the long run, freedom and Liberty win out - let’s hope not too many people become victims to this transition... a bloodless revolution would be such a high watermark for humanity.
  • MM
    MA M.
    30 January 2021 @ 05:32
    Disagree that this is just a walk down the memory lane. Eric talked about how regulation might play out which is quite valuable, the big picture ahead... Always a great experience to listen to such a candid person
  • LL
    Ludovico L.
    29 January 2021 @ 19:20
    I believe (I may be wrong) that to some extent the next step of DEX exists already in the form of Curve where you can switch both stablecoins and bitcoin/ethereum (wrapped or unwrapped) with very low slippage and min fees due to it being an AMM and DEX. Of course you can't buy with fiat but it is one of the best liquidity pools for swapping stablecoins and other forms (so I have heard). Would like to hear more on this.
  • LL
    Ludovico L.
    29 January 2021 @ 19:20
    I believe (I may be wrong) that to some extent the next step of DEX exists already in the form of Curve where you can switch both stablecoins and bitcoin/ethereum (wrapped or unwrapped) with very low slippage and min fees due to it being an AMM and DEX. Of course you can't buy with fiat but it is one of the best liquidity pools for swapping stablecoins and other forms (so I have heard). Would like to hear more on this.
  • MJ
    Matt J.
    29 January 2021 @ 16:44
    Agree with so much Erik says. Top guy! Disagree in part with the idea that code is king and that it is our great saviour. I like the idea and want to believe the narrative. However, I guess it all comes down to who is coding and what code they're writing. Same with any future AI and robot saviours. I still think we're a ways away from the futurism dream expressed in Iain M. Banks' awesome novels: the idea that benevolent, all-seeing and perfect AIs will guide us and protect us in everything we do. It's a fantastic idea, but how can we write amazing code like this when there's so much injustice in so much of the current world infrastructure. So many people still can't get along.
  • AC
    Alpen C.
    29 January 2021 @ 15:43
    Would love to see Raoul's art collection.
  • PU
    Peter U.
    28 January 2021 @ 19:49
    My vote for best video 2021 so far and perhaps ever
    • SA
      Sanne A.
      29 January 2021 @ 11:20
      I agree. This interview gave a great helicopter view of the space and much needed context.
  • BP
    Brent P.
    28 January 2021 @ 15:53
    For those who can't keep up with it all (No faults for that, the technology is advancing at a rapid pace) Here's is a cheat sheet of the top DeFi projects in the space. Ethereum (ETH) the network protocol that DeFi runs on Chainlink (LINK) industry standard Oracle service that powers DeFi AAVE (AAVE) decentralized "bank" where you can deposit your crypto as collateral and take out loans (or gain interest on your deposits) Yearn Finance (YFI) A protocol where one can deposit tokens or stablecoins to earn a yield on them. Compound Finance (COMP) decentralized "bank" Balancer (BAL) Liquidity pools to swap between different tokens Curve Finance (CRV) liquidity pools to swap between different stable coins i,e, USDC, USDT, DAI Thorchain (RUNE) interoperability chain Uniswap (UNI) Decentralized exchange. Swap between different tokens on the ETH network Sushiswap (SUSHI) Decentralized exchange similar to uniswap. Uniswap was the first. Sushiswap offers monetary incentives through their token to attract liquidity 1inch (1INCH) Decentralized exchange aggregator. Swapping tokens on here gives the best available price between all decentralized exchanges and liquidity pools. Synthetix (SNX) Derivatives liquidity pool offering users synthetic exposure to a wide range of assets Take the time to learn about these projects and you will be pretty astounded at what you can do right now in DeFi.
    • VK
      Ville K.
      28 January 2021 @ 23:36
      You forgot to mention Mirror (MIR) powered by Terra (LUNA). All kinds of synthetic assets in real world use already + over 2 mil Korean users in payment apps, back ended by LUNA stable coin protocol. Crazy potential landscape.
    • TS
      Thomas S.
      29 January 2021 @ 01:11
      One more: Loopring. It's an AMM (Automated Market Maker) using zkRollups. Rollups are a Layer 2 solution that solve the high gas costs on the Ethereum blockchain. Expressed in English: DeFi trading has grown tremendously, but small trades are priced out because the cost of each transaction (expressed as "gas" on Ethereum) makes such trades uneconomical. Swap $50 of one token for another and it can cost $70 of gas, depending on how congested the network is. In some ways, this is a testament to the popularity of the network and the rise in Ethereum's price, but it's also a problem that needs solving. That's where zkRollups come in. Virtually no transaction costs. Literally $0.001 per transaction. Currently, Loopring just pays this for users since it's trivial. There will be many other projects that integrate zkRollups into their DApps soon. And, smart contracts will integrate zkRollups via something like zkSync or a similar offering. But, LoopRing is one of the first to do it and likely will grow over 2021. And, if you're interested in investing in DeFi itself (the protocols) but don't really want to do the research to decide whether Comp or Aave or Uni is the best, you can just buy a basket of them all. There's the DeFiPulse Index over at TokenSets. it rebalances regularly. Coinbase will IPO soon. Already, Uniswap trades more volume than Coinbase, but its value is about 5% of what Coinbase expects to fetch via IPO ($4 billion vs. $75 billion). What will happen to these DeFi tokens once the market assigns a value to Coinbase? If anyone's interested in zkRollups, there's a great podcast called Blockchain Debates. Not many shows yet, but there's a very good one that discusses zkRollups vs. Optimistic Rollups. Finally, Timothy P, i already know that Bitcoin is the only solution. But, I'm sure that won't deter the maximalist flames.
  • DW
    Dean W.
    28 January 2021 @ 22:56
    Not much interesting content for me in this one, sort of a walk down memory lane and general discussion that seems like it's been hashed about already a few times.
  • BP
    Brent P.
    28 January 2021 @ 15:20
    Quite ironic how the bankers always say BTC is used for terrorism and crime and then they get caught laundering trillions for criminals. Its no wonder why everyone is opting out of their system.
    • JG
      Jonnie G.
      28 January 2021 @ 22:48
      Yeah I agree. It's as if cash is never used in crime right?
  • MD
    Matt D.
    28 January 2021 @ 22:27
    Raoul mentioning $QNT was impressive (to me). Nice. Thanks - great interview Raoul and Erik, Interesting comments by Timothy P below??
  • DS
    Devin S.
    28 January 2021 @ 17:34
    For anyone who wants to know more about BitInstant and Erik and the Winklevoss Twins falling out, I would read Ben Mezrich's book Bitcoin Billionaires. Comes from the Winklevii perspective but is very entertaining. Erik is prominently featured in the book
  • RB
    Ryan B.
    28 January 2021 @ 17:08
    Eric needs to research $QNT Quant Network has already solved enterprise Interoperability at scale between all networks. Legacy, DLT, and future tech.
  • DP
    Daniel P.
    28 January 2021 @ 07:07
    Erik, you really should look into Quant - unrivalled credentials to connect government and legacy finance to the new decentralised world. Already working with central banks, and hundreds of commercial banks throughout Europe
    • PJ
      Peter J.
      28 January 2021 @ 17:04
      Specifically Overledger (QNT) is a key network component already being used by SIA with their SIAchain solution to provide interoperability. SIAchain is private blockchain infrastructure that enables cross-platform applications and services for their customers both in Europe and globally. SIA provide a private financial network which is the backbone of the European financial market. SIA and SWIFT are the only two providers for the Eurosystem Single Market Infrastructure Gateway, granting access to all RTGS, Securities and Instant Payment transactions for Europe. Quant Networks Overledger Network is due to go Live in H1 2021. This will open Overledger up to non Enterprise customers. The potential is enormous.
  • BS
    Boris S.
    28 January 2021 @ 12:55
    Am I the only one totally disturbed by Raoul's background? Where is my favorite pool, bar and dog. God damn. Nothing great lasts forever.
    • PJ
      Peter J.
      28 January 2021 @ 16:48
      I prefer the other background as well, looking like the summer home of a James Bond villain, lol.
  • PJ
    Peter J.
    28 January 2021 @ 16:47
    Erik has sci-fi paperbacks in his bookshelf. I like him already.
  • RA
    Rick A.
    28 January 2021 @ 14:46
    This was an exceptional interview. Eric did not shy away from the complaints people have, but rather gave reasonable responses to helping people understand. My vote: Eric should become one of RV's regular interviewees.
  • Jd
    Jarno d.
    28 January 2021 @ 13:38
    Interoperability for EVERYTHING is solved without adding additional overhead, chokepoints or vendor Lock-in. The CEO of Quant network ,Gilbert Verdian was on Real Vision covers the basics Then get Redpilled on Overledger and Quant network with this community resource:
  • TR
    Timothy R.
    28 January 2021 @ 09:04
    what's the name of the protocol working on large scale cross chain solutions? I couldn't quite make out the name? Forching?
    • TR
      Timothy R.
      28 January 2021 @ 09:10
      nvm Thorchain
    • AW
      Alec W.
      28 January 2021 @ 11:49
      Link for those interested:
  • MK
    Martin K.
    28 January 2021 @ 10:25
    Two of the most articulate people in the cryptosphere sharing ideas at a deep philosophical level; it doesn't get much better than this. Eric made a really fascinating point about many features of our banking system being an atavistic legacy of the days when the primary function of a bank was to act as a vault for the deposit of monetary metals. That is a brilliant insight that is so true of many of the systems that we utilise today. For example, the QWERTY configuration on your computer keyboard is only that way because it was the standard configuration of a typewriter keyboard, which was configured to make typing as SLOW as possible, in order to avoid the phenomena of the mechanical arms crossing over and hitting one another. However, just as we're all still QWERTY-based, we're still using SWIFT, which is cracking 50 years old. Absolutely bonkers!
  • JB
    Jamie B.
    28 January 2021 @ 09:20
    I always enjoy watching Erik's interviews. He's a great advocate for the space. His debate with Peter Schiff is very good and pretty funny at times. Cheers Erik & Raoul
  • JR
    John R.
    28 January 2021 @ 07:54
    Mr. Vorhees continues to be one of the most-informed and insightful folks in the industry. His dispassionate advocacy is truly inspiring.