The Switzerland-based cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift has announced a new account-based membership or loyalty program in order to upgrade user experience. Depending on its levels, the program would have benefits like higher trading limits, rewards on trading volume, better pricing, private market and trade data, and early access to new coins, products, and services. The program is optional for now but will become mandatory soon for all its users.

ShapeShift is currently known as the "exchange without accounts", meaning users are not required to sign in or register to execute trades. But this membership program is account-based. So, why is there a change in the model? The exchange says it received requests from users to have account-related features such as a record of transaction history, saved/whitelisted addresses, and email notifications, for example. Other reasons are - ShapeShift's increasing interest in tokenization and the legal grey area surrounding cryptocurrency exchanges at present. 

There are five levels of the program. Level 1 is available now and is free and open to everyone. Levels 2-5 will be available later with benefits such as volume-based rewards for transacting with the FOX token and higher transaction limits. FOX tokens are standard Ethereum-based tokens. The exchange said it is also eager to work together with users on the personalization and loyalty features in demand.

The program membership also requires the collection of basic personal information. Erik Voorhees, founder and CEO of ShapeShift said, "we would prefer if the collection of personal information was not a mandatory element." He added, "We still firmly believe that individuals, regardless of their race, religion, or nationality, deserve the right to financial privacy, just as they deserve the right to privacy in their thoughts, in their relationships, and in their communications. Such privacy is a foundational element of a civil and just society and should be defended by all good people. We remain committed to that cause and it is best served if we are smart about our approach.

Also Read: Shapeshift - Exchange Review

While ShapeShift is adding new features for the program, it will remain a non-custodial exchange. It asserted that “while the account-based format is new, we remain committed to consumer protection via our non-custodial model – we do not and will not hold customer deposits.”