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Founded 2011
Headquarters Russia
Key People Alexander Vinnik, Administrator
Employees 1-?
Products Bitcoin Exchange
Twitter @btcecom
Website BTC-e Homepage (Now defunct)

BTC-e was a cryptocurrency exchange operated by Alexander Vinnik.[1] It supported bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Namecoin, and Novacoin.[2]


BTC-e was, at one point, one of the oldest and most popular cryptocurrency exchanges. It supported the user-to-user trade of several popular cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dash. In 2016, Swedish programmer Kim Nilsson tracked some of the bitcoins that had been stolen from Mt. Gox, a cryptocurrency exchange based in Tokyo, to a wallet owned by a Mt. Gox user named "WME." Nilsson later discovered that the owner of the account was Alexander Vinnik, who had left comments on an old online bitcoin forum that included some personal information. Vinnik was arrested in Greece in July 2016. He is the only known accomplice of the exchange. He has claimed his primary role with the company was technical, and that he had no knowledge of any criminal activity.[3][4] The exchange posted a message on its official account on the online forum BitcoinTalk, denying any affiliation with Vinnik.[5] Vinnik later admitted in an interview with Russia Today that he was actually an employee with the exchange.[6] BTC-e has since been linked with laundering millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency for criminal purposes. It has also been linked to Fancy Bear, a Russian hacking unit accused of influencing the United States 2016 presidential election.[7][8] American prosecutors have accused BTC-e of helping Fancy Bear operatives circumvent KYC and AML laws by laundering money anonymously, using bitcoin.[9]

Site closure[edit]

In the summer of 2017, BTC-e's web domain was seized and access became restricted. The site later posted a roadmap for its relaunch "in full compliance with the European directives on personal data and in compliance with European legislation in [the crytpocurrency] field." The first stage was to involve the transfer of user information to a new, unnamed company. The second stage would involve an unnamed financial investment firm to restructure BTC-e's assets. In the third stage, the aforementioned unnamed financial investment firm would audit and register personal data in possession of the new, unnamed company in accordance with AML and KYC laws in Europe.[10]

The arrest of Vinnik and the subsequent seizure of BTC-e's online domain was a joint effort between numerous agencies, including the Department of Justice, Northern District of California; Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE); the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and the United States Secret Service (USSS).[11]