ShapeShift will exchange one digital asset for another. To help explain the exchange process, let's break it down.
Picking Digital Assets
After the user lands on ShapeShift.io, two different digital assets must be chosen for the exchange to work. Additionally, another choice must be made. The user must pick a "Quick" or "Precise" exchange. Afterward, the user clicks "Continue".
After the choice is made, the user will be asked to provide a destination address and a refund address. The destination address will be the user's address for the coin under the "Receive" field, while the refund address will be the user's address for the coin under the "Deposit" field. Refund addresses assure that any deposited coins are returned in the case of a failed exchange. Before the user can move forward, they must agree to the Terms of Service. If the user wants to use the deposit address again, they will need to move the "Reusable Address?" toggle. The final step on this page is to press "Start Transaction".
Sending and Receiving
The most important part of exchanging is sending the Deposit coin. The user will come to a status page. Here, there will be an address to send the Deposit coin to and live updates regarding the exchange's status. Once the Deposit coin is received and the Receive coin is sent, the status page will link the user to a block explorer.
How it Works
The user determines which digital asset they want to send to ShapeShift and which digital asset they would like to receive from ShapeShift. After ShapeShift receives the expected Deposit coin, the system will automatically send the outgoing digital asset, or the Receive coin. There are no transaction fees, outside of the miner fee.
Now that you better understand the process of Shifting your digital assets, you may be ready to give it a try. If you are doing your first Shift and you need help setting up an order, this article can give you step-by-step instructions.