Shapeshift Unreliable (update: resolved)

[Suggestion of alternatives appreciated: BTC->ZEC to obtain ZEC, ZEC->BTC to spend at Bitcoin merchants.]

I hit existing BTC->ZEC conduit >25 hrs. ago. BTC went in, nothing came out. >12 hours ago, Shapeshift support said this is “an intermittent error on our end” and asked for BTC refund address. >6 hours ago, Shapeshift support said “We will send your funds as soon as humanly possible.”

WTF? What takes so long to send back same amnt BTC I sent them? Are they secretly leverage customer funds to speculation? It is the only plausible explanation, why they can neither send me ZEC nor send me back MY BTC.

That would be scummy, when they already take >1% profit off the spread (arbitrage):

[links broken due to error message, "new users can only put 2 links in a post]

$ wget -q -O - https :// & wget -q -O - https :// &


$ bc -l

Shapeshift is about to learn a hard lesson in the following RULES of running a money business:

  1. Trust is slow to gain, fast to lose.

  2. You MUST NOT hold customer money without good reason. Refunds SHOULD NOT be necessary; but if they are necessary, they MUST be immediate. (words per RFC2119)

  3. There are NO EXCUSES. Just like a bank. I don’t care about your technical error or system crash or heavy tx volume… I DON’T CARE, NOT MY PROBLEM. If you can’t do it right, don’t ask me to trust you with MY MONEY.

And in case of system failure - why are refunds not automatic, to the refund address I gave when I set up conduit? (I gave them different address now , watch both… nothing.) Why need to email support? (!?)

Note: I am not affiliated with Shapeshift or any of its competitors. I never did Bitcoin, because only stupid people think Bitcoin is private. And I want… no, DEMAND privacy. FINANCIAL PRIVACY IS A HUMAN RIGHT. I start refuse to do business with anybody who has “KYC” policy… STOP WATCHING ME, YOU PERVERTS, it is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS who I am or what I do with MY MONEY. I like to buy milk and eggs in cash, too… and I use Tor to check the weather forecast.

I don’t do any illegal activity, F@#$ YOU for assuming that. What I have to “hide” is called “my private life as a human being”, get it? I am sick of mass surveillance, angry as hell, NOT TAKING THIS ANY MORE. Zcash looks good to me. Too bad, right now seems only way to get ZEC here without KYC Peeping Tom is fiat->BTC->ZEC. I “unbanked” some fiat currency for this transaction, drew straight from the bank ATM tied to my cattle brand state-issued identity documents. Now for past 24+ hours, I have NOTHING.

Shapeshift, GIVE ME MY MONEY. NOW. I said “please” and “thank you” before, now GIMME what is MINE. IMMEDIATELY. YESTERDAY.

ps, sry for teh poor Engrish, I am anonymous Smith cypherpunk with the distinctive writing styles. thx.

Not likely. support@shapeshift repeatedly said excuses such as, “it is taking us a bit more time to do returns”. And there are no even unconfirmed transactions showing on address on But it is simple, their support could give me a txid.

If Shapeshift can cough up txid with lock time before my above post, I will apologize and eat crow for the tenor of my post (but not for saying this should never happen in the first place).

They didn’t even reply to my last email >8 hours ago (which was very polite btw). Ball is in their court.

So? So what? Take your fiat €/$ to the BigBank, and see it disappear, and they make excuses about “intermittent error” and “high volume of orders”. Then silence. See if you get angry.

It is not a lot of money to big money traders. But it is a lot of money to me. I am not rich. Not a speculator or “investor”. Bought this money to use as currency. IF ZEC WANTS BECOME SUCCESSFUL, IT NEEDS TO BE USED AS CURRENCY. Have it disappear for a day-plus and counting, that has hurt me. Shapeshift owes me for that! Playing with people’s money, it is not some game.

Oh, and pardon me to get “emotional” about mass surveillance. Anybody who thinks they should monitor my finances, tap my communications, watch my every movement, data mine me as a number in huge dragnet databases, and gives that “if you have nothing to hide” bull-oney… I hope those people get cancer and die. END OF DISCUSSION, I AM DONE ARGUING. How’s that for “emotional”?

Btw #1, this is not the first time I had trouble with Shapeshift (but this is much worse). Refunds for failed tx should be automated and immediate. Why even asks for refund address when conduit is created?

Btw #2, if asked by any mods or widely trusted forum member (such as you), I will PM copy of my emails to/from Shapeshift and give other info (txids, etc). To post that publicly would defeat the purpose of getting privacy oriented currency. thx.

@Smith I understand your frustration with having funds tied up but this forum is not really the place for demanding refunds or cussing out Shapeshift.

Zcash is not directly affiliated with Shapeshift and I do not know if any members of the Shapeshift technical support frequent this forum. So your ranting here is not likely helping to resolve your situation.

Please tone it down or I will have to close this topic.


Official policy question: Do you prohibit posting in Zcash official forum about negative experience with third-party providers linked from Zcash official blog? I very first heard about the Shapeshift here: Third Party Support at Launch - Electric Coin Company (archive):

(bold added by me) OK, that seems reasonable. As for me to post here. Whether or not it helps “resolve” my particular personal situation. I want that, obviously, but it is even more important to me that others not get burned like I did. Like zcashd (in not daemon mode) says, “helping to strengthen the network and contributing to a social good :)”. People should know about it… or do you suggest I must be the only person with this problem? And Shapeshift should know if they improperly handle money, they will get negative buzz. Not just a glowing mention on the Z.Cash “Third Party Support” list.

@Shawn, I will call you on that. Please show me one place I cussed out Shapeshift. Or don’t put words in my mouth, because I didn’t do that. I may have cussed out people who support mass surveillance, and also said I hope they die of cancer. I stand by that. I don’t think Shapeshift meets that description… or anybody who working with anonymous digital currency like Zcash. Ipso facto.

@GPU_Mining, update, some stats per My payment to Shapeshift was in Bitcoin block 457185. I first contacted support@shapeshift before timestamp of block 457253. Shapeshift support first promised a refund before timstamp of block 457269. Their last contact (admitting they not yet sent refund) was before 457300. latest (now) is block 457377.

Still think this is “likely” due to “backlog in Bitcoin”? Please don’t make unwarranted assumptions.

I still don’t have my money… Not ZEC, not BTC, nothing.

Hey there. Totally understand your frustration and the reasoning behind venting on issues with third-party services using Zcash. In fact, it could benefit others who are experiencing the same problem to read this topic. That said, from my experience with Shapeshift, and their customer-first reputation, I highly doubt they are practicing any secretive leveraging of funds. Otherwise, occurrences like this would happen more often and you would hear about it more.

But as @Shawn requested, your tone is not necessary. We do have the following guideline:

Do not:
Create topics/replies for the sole purpose of causing unrest on the forum.

You expressed your opinion, we understand you’re frustrated, but please don’t continue to argue with people here who are simply suggesting alternative reasons why Shapeshift might be having troubles getting your BTC back to you.



@paige, thanks, understood.

I ask to refocus on the very top line of my first post: “Suggestion of alternatives appreciated”. I ask not only for myself - I may have just rm’ed from my tree some preliminary code to integrate with that slick-looking Shapeshift API. Because I will drink battery acid before I risk to cause others what I went through past 36 hours and counting. Matter of conscience.

I request constructive suggestions to hold us over until XCAT in “Sapling” (Project Alchemy). Must be anonymous and frictionless (no API key required for basic functionality). ZEC to be successful, needs bridge to wean people off incumbent BTC. I am motivated primarily by ideology, not financial gain - I don’t care if Bitcoin is popular, or Shapeshift is, I want something PRIVATE and CORRECT.

Would say more, but already too much risk identity correlation / collision between worlds. I will leave as “exercise to reader” examine my posts, and decide whether some one uses bc(1) as a desktop calc is just blowing smoke. (who knows what anonbib is, and follows it, and also LAUGHED at the morons who were surprised by Dec 2016 Danish BTC drug bust… there was academic research on blockchain tracing in 2011… People who think Bitcoin is private must be doing drugs!) A delightful bonus of anonymity - people never know who they are screwing over, or what it will cost them over a matter of around 1/8 BTC (dunno about you, but a LOT of money to me!). See “Measure for Measure”. thx.

16 hours after their last contact, at a time before Bitcoin block 457399:

In fairness, unless otherwise directed by mods, I will update here when I receive further contact and/or refund. So far, no money.

No further comment on that a big mover of thousands BTC/day needs >24 hrs. and counting , to refund slightly less than 1/8 BTC. Facts speak louder than my opinions.

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I received an exact refund from Shapeshift in Bitcoin block 457412. ( lock time: block 457411.)

Time from when I provided refund address to support@shapeshift: 23 hours, 15 minutes. Time from initial transaction in block 457186, which included a (different) refund address: 36 hours, 23 minutes.

Right now I am just relieved to at least have my money back. I think everybody who reads this understand, unless further reply/development, “Smith” now likely become scarce. Have seen/will see you elsewhere. Thanks to those who replied; and have a nice day, Zcash Forum!

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I recently had poloniex sit on a bitcoin withdrawal for about 18 hours. Before contacting support, I was directed to their FAQ and found something about their review procedure. Sure enough, I got an email (without having contacted them), by which time the withdrawal had been processed. Sites like ShapeShift and Poloniex service a lot of people and at times like this (peak market activity) their staff have more work than usual but they remain trustworthy.

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I hear you.
I have had issues when shifting between these assets and have always had support resolve these issues within at least 24 hrs.
Both jon, emily are friendly and attentive, so I can’t imagine them clandestinely doing any of the things you outlined above.
This doesn’t mean to say others wouldn’t, as it wasn’t so laong ago when one actor exploited their position at SS.

Anyway past issues, it’s either been due to me setting fees too low resulting in having to wait many blocks for my tx to go through, or they suddenly start maintenance on their APIs/updating hot wallets.
Really, there should be more competition in this space when it comes to pseudonymously exchanging assets.
This would place extra pressure and make them go the extra mile.

BTW, you said BTC went in and nothing came out.
By this, I suppose you mean that the payment status reached ‘done’, or was mid process?


I appreciate both the moderators’ intervention to keep things constructive as well as your call for constructive suggestions. Have you tried Bitsquare née bisq? Zcash on Bitsquare from day 1


Sorry for delayed responses. I should have watched for the replies here. I thought this resolved, and Smith fades into the ether - oops.

@zooko, thanks for the tip on Bitsquare - and I want to thank you personally for making Zcash a reality! Most promising new currency to emerge since Digicash failed in 1990s. I ignore Bitcoin, which is interesting Merkle chain usage but has no transactional privacy whatsoever.

Re my question, I am most interested in API suitable for anonymous, frictionless automation. ShapeShift API is a thing of beauty, on paper - very well designed, KISS - API key only needed for things which logically require an API key - would be perfect if not for the problems like this. I really don’t know of anything else comparable for transitional Bitcoin compat (until XCAT lands in Sapling…).

Problems, plural, because I tried ShapeShift again. And it failed again, no output. Currently awaiting support response for some many hours. This time I will publicly reveal transaction details to answer all questions, at expense of my privacy. It is not too bad - my money will all disappear into a z-addr when this is resolved, I will just never use this z-addr again, and you can’t trace it on the blockchain like Bitcoin.

Examine with that API. Please pay attention to "transaction": null. This should be the Zcash txid. On the ShapeShift web interface, the “See it on the blockchain” link goes to homepage. (Was same last time.)

user@host:~$ { wget -qO - \ ; \
    echo '' ; } | jq .
  "status": "complete",
  "address": "13oXPRuj7W3JPN5Q8hS1JrsLwcs8yd2tEG",
  "withdraw": "zcMPgt4jh1n6zt4zFbNHy5URQEdN57sLRD8pbks6KQNR8pLAngRscPRztp2jn9R8ZZZyXUPzXdWEbgSMnGdctamtPmiUBm3",
  "incomingCoin": 0.12388317,
  "incomingType": "BTC",
  "outgoingCoin": "2.35063436",
  "outgoingType": "ZEC",
  "transaction": null


Extra newline echoed because ShapeShift JSON has none, and jq seems to get confused.

This was a “precise” transaction, I did to lock a price and stop loss when BTC was plummeting against ZEC. BTC lost almost half its value against ZEC in a few hours - I turned back to ShapeShift, because I needed fast way to dump the BTC I never wanted anyway. Last fail tx was repeated use of an open conduit (“quick” tx).

This hurts! On 2017-03-14, rate was 26.79046943 ZEC/BTC - I should have got around 3.32 ZEC. On the above transaction, early 2017-03-18, the rate was 18.97541334 ZEC/BTC, for about 2.35 ZEC. A 29.2% drop, almost 1 ZEC loss - and BTC value dropping further fast, went as low as 12 ZEC/BTC, now bouncing around 15!

I never want BTC, I want ZEC. I am not a speculator or currency trader. I never intended to “play the market”. I just wanted exchange my savings to private ZEC, with easily obtained BTC as a bridge. Now I am at significant loss.

I sent back to ShapeShift the exactly same BTC refund they sent me before (minus the miner tx fee I lost). You can see this on the blockchain (.onion link!), because Bitcoin is anti-private money which publishes all tx details for the entire world. For privacy, worse than a credit card! Why everybody should switch to Zcash with z-addresses.

I hope this will help somebody know at least, what to watch out for. And how to debug failed ShapeShift tx… I still want to believe in ShapeShift, but that is not possible right now.

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@anon, thanks for your reply. To answer your questions:

I want to make it clear: in all my above posts, I only count time starting from when my input payment is first confirmed on Bitcoin blockchain. Would never blame Shapeshift for BTC slowness - and my BTC transaction was confirmed within minutes, anyway. (Yeah, that cost way too much fee IMO. Using BTC with recommended fees is expensive.)

It said “Done”, and had link “See it on the blockchain” which led only to (not even anywhere in I did not look with API at the time, and now API shows nothing useful for 2017-03-14 tx. On my newly failed transaction (2017-03-18), the ShapeShift API shows null txid, "complete" status, and the web interface shows same useless “See it on the blockchain” homepage link. Please see my other post, a few minutes ago.

Question: You said you had issues before. If this does not pry to ask, output to z-addr or t-addr? I only just thought of this - I use only z-addr. I had much success ShapeShifting to z-addr before, but then two failures in a row. Vague handwavy hunch: maybe a system upgrade made some bug which, I understand, most users would not suffer because t-addr is inexplicably popular. (Why use Zcash!? Have some patience, it takes me plenty.)

Have you tried for gathering suitable fee estimates for reasonable confirmations and costs?
I pull from that and only if I don’t care above expenses.

I’ve only ever successfully sent to t-addrs as I wasn’t aware that Shapeshift supported z-addresses yet - have you asked Jon about this?
Can I ask how may shifts you’ve completed to z-addr’s, just as I’m struggling to believe that they would support it, as the process is expensive, requires additional resources and seems a stretch when all other popular services only offer t-addr deposits.

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@anon, thank you for your reply.

I just pick whatever Bitcoin fee is recommended by various lightweight clients or web wallets. It always >= 150 sat./byte, and always makes quick confirmation. Maybe I should follow your suggestions, tune my fees and save some money.

I did not ask ShapeShift specifically about z-addr output. But it has worked for me before - most I will say is, more than once, and more than twice! Based on what you say, I should say hats off to ShapeShift on this particular point.

Note, their support never mentioned it to me - obviously, they know my output address. And I would very reasonably expect, if not supported, it should be (1) documented limitation, (2) instantly rejected by the system, before I send my money.

Moreover: Advertized support for Zcash implies support for z-addresses. It is the whole point of Zcash! No z-addr support is like an OpenPGP implementation which only does signatures (no encryption), or a coffee maker which only makes decaf, or a Tor protocol AP which only does single-hop circuit (like inverse web2tor), or an automobile which only goes up to 10 km/h. Or 90s “export” SSL (shiver). A service which only handles t-address must at most advertise “partial support” for Zcash, otherwise it is dishonest advertising.

I hope I am not the only one doing this with z-address. That anonymity set would be no good, hah. People, please use z-address! Value your privacy!

Note, my perspective is not some hot shot with great hardware. Calculating the JoinSplit takes many minutes completely consuming my ancient CPU, and the RAM is a really tight squeeze. This laptop predates the Snowden revelations by several years. Every time I make a z-addr transaction, I fear it will overheat and burn out - then I will be in trouble. If I can do it, so can you. I think people with laptop only two years or less old, it should take only around 30-60 seconds, yes?


Update: ShapeShift sent me ZEC, filling my order of 2017-03-18!

This just a brief note - I don’t want to leave this thread hanging saying my money disappeared again, when they just sent it to me. I intend to post again later (hurry now).

Thanks to ShapeShift customer service for resolving this.


@Smith May I suggest updating the title to include “(resolved)” or something similar to clarify the status of this thread in case people don’t get to the bottom?


Referring back to, they show sats/byte with the estimated delay in blocks and time in minutes.
Currently 150 may sometimes be enough for a 0-180 minute confirm, whilst 101 can be enough for a 10-300 minute confirm.
Point is, this all depends on if you can afford the delay or require a reasonably rapid confirm.

Have no reason at the moment to shift any more zec, but next time I’ll try a z-addr, and update this thread with the result.
Its a pro in their part if they are allowing z-addrs seeing as like you said “advertised support for Zcash implies…” and all services at this point have had plenty of time to adapt and should be moving in this direction for the user’s sake.

Imagine you’re not the only one doing this, just its the first account I’ve read of using this service with success. The anonymity set is fine and shielded addresses count is 6+ times that of what it were in late December.
That said, it has fell since late January by over a third, Low percentage of total shielded ZEC as indicator of lack of interest? - #8 by xalspaero so make of it that you will.

Creation of a joinsplit on a near decade old thinkpad with 16GB of RAM and a lqx patched kernel takes no longer than 40 tops.
If you’re worried about over heating, just open another window alongside and run sensors through watch for temp changes.