Digital currency trading company ShapeShift understands the increasing importance of offering secure services safe from the hacks that have plagued the space in the last year, and has turned to Canadian security expert Michael Perklin to step in as the new Chief Information Security Officer.
Perklin first collaborated with ShapeShift (based in Switzerland) when he was hired to conduct an investigation of the company’s April 2016 security breach and to help get ShapeShift back on its feet. At the time, he found he agreed with the company’s approach to business.
“ShapeShift’s non-custodial model takes full advantage of a blockchain’s capabilities to allow disparate parties to transact with each other with little-to-no knowledge,” Perklin told Bitcoin Magazine. “Their lack of collecting user information further highlights the power that blockchains bring to the world. We don’t need to know who each other are to be able to swap one digital asset for another, and ShapeShift’s innovation in this space was a large reason behind my move.
“ShapeShift’s power is in its simplicity — send a token, receive another. No accounts, no passports, no utility bills.”
“It has been an absolute honor and privilege to work with Michael,” Erik Voorhees, CEO of ShapeShift, told Bitcoin Magazine, “and having him on board with us full-time now is a dream come true for a blockchain startup.”
An expert in cyber investigations, digital forensic examinations and security breach post-mortems, Perklin founded Canada’s first blockchain security consulting firm, Bitcoinsultants, and is the co-author of the first CryptoCurrency Security Standard. Perklin will continue in his role as president of C4, a nonprofit standards organization dedicated to developing and maintaining standards and personnel certification to help companies more effectively use blockchain technology.
“Michael Perklin has pioneered the standardization of security-related best practices in the industry. He’s a talented individual of immense character, and happens to be one of the world’s foremost blockchain security experts,” said Voorhees.
“As a ShapeShift integration partner, I think it’s great to see someone of Michael’s capabilities join their team,” Anthony Di Iorio, CEO of Decentral and Jaxx Blockchain Interface, concurred. “I’ve known Michael for a number of years and he’s always been at the forefront of blockchain forensics and security. Directing his skills and experience full-time to ShapeShift is a huge win for their company.”
“2017 Is the Year of Blockchains”
As a long-time Bitcoin advocate, Perklin has testified about blockchains at the Canadian Senate’s Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce and has been qualified as an expert witness in the courts of Canada and other nations around the globe.
“Blockchains definitely are a game-changing technology, just like databases changed things back in the ’60s. I do think 2017 is the year of blockchains simply because of all of the work people are doing around the world to integrate this new computer science concept with existing business processes.
“It’s just like how companies traded their filing cabinets for computers and envelopes for fax machines. When new technologies change our environment, we integrate them into our daily lives and adjust. There’s no doubt in my mind that blockchains will change society more quickly and more drastically than the internet did in the ’90s and 2000s.”
Unlike those who doubt that bitcoin can survive as a digital currency, Perklin sees a natural progression toward widespread use and acceptance.
“Bitcoin and blockchain technologies are quite different from everything that existed before them, so it’s no surprise that some media outlets misunderstand it and jump to conclusions. Bitcoin has been called untraceable (false), anonymous (false) and has been declared dead by misinformed people more times than I can count.
“By comparison, the internet was seen as something that was only useful for computer geeks. However, once people understand a new technology, they begin to use it in their everyday lives. I think Bitcoin and blockchains will be no different.”
Perklin is also enthusiastic about the future of Ethereum, despite some recent doom and gloom predictions.
“Ether is an interesting token with a different use case than bitcoin. It’s such a new technology that there are bound to be growing pains — it’s the first of its kind, just like Bitcoin was the first of its kind, too,” says Perklin. “Many people forget that Bitcoin went through many ‘hard forks’ in its first two years, just as Ethereum is doing now. As each bug is fixed, the system becomes more resilient to problems. I have a bright view for Ethereum’s future.
“There are now so many digital assets — each with their own unique differences — that people around the world will undoubtedly need to swap amongst them regularly.”
Before joining ShapeShift, Perklin was Head of Security and Investigative Services with LedgerLabs, a Canadian blockchain services firm that offers advice on strategy, development, security and training to companies working with or hoping to work with blockchain technology.
The LedgerLabs team is comprised of experts in Ethereum, permissioned blockchains, smart contracts and blockchain forensics, including Vitalik Buterin, Peter Todd, Jeff Coleman, Hai Nguyen, Richard Moore and Vlad Zamfir.
Jessie Willms is a planet earth based former government and political researcher and communications officer helping to document the FinTech revolution and its impact on traditional institutions and governments. You can follow Jessie on Twitter at @WILLMS_.