BTC-e Founder Admits $9B Money Laundering Conspiracy Charge

BTC-e founder concludes exchange’s five-year-long case with guilty admission. 

Man in jail being sad, wearing Bitcoin rings.
Created by Gabor Kovacs from DailyCoin
  • The BTC-e case has finally concluded. 
  • Co-founder Alexander Vinnik has pleaded guilty.
  • The DOJ accused Vinnik of laundering billions. 

US regulators have been relentless in their crackdown on crypto, targeting anyone that even smells of money laundering, including notable figures such as Tornado Cash co-founders, Binance’s former CEO Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Friend (SBF), and more. Now joining this infamous list is BTC-e founder Alexander Vinnik, who, after a grueling five-year legal battle, has finally pleaded guilty to laundering billions. 

BTC-e Founder’s Admission

On Friday, May 3, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed that BTC-e’s co-founder Alexander Vinnik admitted to his role in money laundering through the exchange from 2011 to 2017, marking the climax of a years-long case.


During Vinnik’s leadership, the DOJ detailed that BTC-e processed over $9 billion in transactions and amassed over one million users worldwide, mostly based in the US. Shockingly, the regulator revealed that over $4 billion worth of Bitcoin was laundered through the exchange.

Authorities highlighted that the platform was utilized to launder funds acquired from various criminal enterprises, including computer hacking, ransomware attacks, and drug trafficking. The investigation uncovered BTC-e’s flagrant disregard for legal compliance, notably its lack of registration with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and AML or KYC protocols. 

With its lax compliance measures, BTC-e swiftly became a haven for bad actors seeking to evade regulatory scrutiny. The DOJ revealed Vinnik’s establishment of numerous shell companies and financial accounts worldwide, facilitating the illicit transfer of funds through the exchange and resulting in criminal losses exceeding $121 million.

Following Vinnik’s admission, a federal court judge will now determine the co-founder’s sentence. Drawing parallels to the cases of Binance’s Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao and FTX’s SBF, Vinnik could face a sentence ranging from four months to 25 years.

On the Flipside

  • Vinnik, a Russian citizen, previously attempted to broker a prisoner swap deal as part of negotiations between Russia and the United States. 
  • BTC-e was heavily implicated in the infamous Mt.Gox Hack.
  • In 2023, Alexey Bilyuchenko, an associate of Vinnik and former technology administrator of BTC-e, was fined and sentenced to three years and six months in prison for embezzling the exchange’s funds.

Why This Matters

Vinnik’s admission marks the end of a five-year legal saga, bringing closure to all those impacted by BTC-e. It also serves as a crucial juncture in cleansing the industry of bad actors and a stark example of the consequences for those who try to curb the law.


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This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Insha Zia

Insha Zia is a senior journalist at DailyCoin covering crypto developments, especially in the Cardano ecosystem. With a Bachelor of Science in Computer Systems Engineering, he delivers high-quality articles with his technical background and expertise in data analysis and programming languages, aiming to educate and inform readers accurately, transparently, and engagingly. Insha believes education can drive mass adoption of the crypto space, and he is committed to giving DailyCoin readers a better understanding of the technology.