Erik Voorhees: The Visionary Behind ShapeShift And Venice

By Fotis Dixon


Reviewed by: Fotis Dixon

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Erik Voorhees

Erik Tristan Voorhees is an American cryptocurrency entrepreneur who is best known for his work as the CEO of Shapeshift.

Over his career, he has been the Director of Marketing at the startup company BitInstant and was also one of the co-founders of the Bitcoin gambling site Satoshi Dice.

He has recently launched his new AI platform called “Venice” which promises privacy and accessibility to unfiltered Free Speech for its users.

In this article we will look at the details regarding both his personal and professional life, his business philosophy, and his recent ventures.

Erik Voorhees

Erick Voorhees- Early life And professional career

Voorhees was born in 1983 in Danbury, a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. He was however for the most part raised in the state of Colorado.

It was in 2003 that Voorhees enrolled himself at the University of Puget Sound in Washington and later met Nicolas Cary who introduced Vorrhes to Bitcoin and later went on to become one of the founders of

He started his professional career as a communication manager for a real estate company in Dubai right after his graduation from University.

Introduction to Bitcoin

It is reported that Voorhees had his first encounter with Bitcoins in the year 2011. Concerning an article that was published on him on CNN which described him as the head of communications at BitInstant, It would be fair to say that despite his introduction to Bitcoins in 2011 this might not have been the time when he started to work in close relation to the crypto coin market.

In 2012, Voorhees launched a Bitcoin gambling site which was named Satoshi Dice. Satoshi Dice soon became one of the most prominent sites in the Bitcoin space accounting for up to almost half of all the Bitcoin’s transaction volume at that time.

The massive success of the site made Voorhees a millionaire and later he sold Satoshi Dice for what was close to $11.5 million worth of Bitcoin.

In the month of July 2014, Voorhees launched his digital currency exchange Shapeshift based in Switzerland after sensing an opportunity to fill in the void left after the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox

Approximately 70% of all Bitcoin transactions on the market were handled by Mt. Gox at the time of its demise.

The Success of Shapeshift was however not without its own set of controversies and pushbacks. One of the features that set the Shapeshift platform to stand out from the other cryptocurrency platforms was that it had lax policies when it came to verifying the identity of its users.

The lack of oversight into the identity of the trader made the platform a hotbed for scammers and hackers to exploit it to launder money without raising suspicion from the authorities.

Eric Voorhees was personally facing heat over a lot of investigations conducted by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) concerning his activities and the workings of his ventures.

We will have a brief look at some of such cases that caused friction between him, his firms, and the SEC in the section below.

Regulations and settlements

The first allegation against Voorhees was brought up in 2014 in which he was accused of having sold unregistered securities with close links to his sale of shares in SatoshiDice. That particular case was settled by a payment of a mere $50,000 to the SEC.

Little would he have known that the previous allegations that were brought up against him would be no match for the ones that he was going to face.

At one point his company Shapeshift had to be put under the radar of the SEC for allegedly acting as a vessel for North Korean hackers and Ponzi scheme operators to transfer nearly $90 million through his exchange.

The settlement for this case is however not available but it is widely known that in 2018 Erik was implicated again by the SEC for their investigation into a $50 million cryptocurrency sale that was initiated by Salt Lending Holdings Inc, an agency whose fundraising he was part of.

Even while being swarmed by such allegations Erik Voorhees still managed to retain his reputation and came out of all the allegations with what can be called a clean chit.

Now that we have talked about almost every aspect of his professional career and his journey through the narrow roads of the crypto market let us now take a peek at some of his personal philosophies in the next section.

Erik Voorhees- Personal Philosophy

By taking a look at his career path we can formulate a few thoughts about his personal philosophy that he inculcates with cryptocurrencies.

Erik Voorhees appears to be someone who tries not to shy away from any of the challenges and adversities that were thrown at him, instead, he has proven time over time to be a person capable of facing them with all the might and resources he has in his arsenal.

Two examples to showcase this particular attitude of his can be found in his decision to completely go aboard with Bitcoin with all that he had despite it being one of the riskiest chances that someone could take along with the stoic attitude that he showed while locking heads with the SEC over the years.

Furthermore, we can find that Erik Voorhees had at one point shown his disagreement with the opinion of Sam Bankman Fried that the cryptocurrency industry should be regulated.

He has recently reiterated his support for an unregulated and unfiltered model of an ecosystem through his latest venture called “Venice”.

We will look at what Venice is and what it can do in the section below along with why Erik showed interest in the project

Erik Voorhees and “Venice”

Erik Voorhees had recently at the beginning of May introduced the launch of his new venture called Venice AI.

His new AI venture is set to compete directly with current AI models such as Chatgpt by Openai and Claude by Anthropic.

The AI aims to leverage open-source technology to enhance privacy and give its users access to unrestricted free speech.

Erik Voorhees has talked about how the new technology will redefine privacy and free speech and rescue everyone from the clutches of what he calls the “Orwellian” oversight from the typical centralized platforms.

The new venture seems to be a perfect way for him to integrate his philosophy into the new and emerging world of AI.

Final Thoughts

Reflecting on the extraordinary journey that he had in the crypto markets and his later venture into the field of AI we have to admit that the values and morals that he carries himself with are quite hard to find in many who have followed similar journeys.

His newfound involvement in AI should be seen as a blessing for all those who fear the overtaking of AI in every aspect of our lives and completely denying one of one’s identity and threatening their privacy.

It is with that we conclude our article about one of the most interesting and important figures in the history of cryptocurrency.

Fotis Dixon

Fotis Dixon is a business expert from the UK. He's written lots of articles about the newest market research and trends, especially on cryptocurrencies. Fotis is good at breaking down different topics to give useful information, helping readers stay updated on emerging trends.

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