Realtime


Trading has been permanently frozen for the site wind down.

Welcome to btct.co, the BTC Virtual Stock Exchange*
  from BTC Trading Corp.

The Retrospective Look Back

There are a lot of news articles out there now that cover the SEC settlement and resulting disgorgement. It'd be really easy to look at those and get the wrong idea, however an accurate assessment would be that the environment changed rapidly, the sites were quite successful on accident, and they were ahead of their time. The following points will help address that.

It is important to understand the environment at the time the sites were created. Early to mid 2012, while conceiving and working on the initial versions of the websites, the Litecoin and Bitcoin ecosystems were fundamentally different than they are today. They were called Virtual Currencies, now many prefer to call them Digital Currency or Crypto Currency. Why the community push to change the name? Because Virtual means not real, or to snag a specific dictionary quote: "Simulated; performing the functions of something that isn't really there." The vast majority of us got our Litecoins or Bitcoins "for free" by mining them, with hardware we already had on hand, using CPU's and GPU's that were already built into our computers. It wasn't until April 2013 that Butterfly labs started shipping dedicated ASIC mining hardware. Back in 2012, few of us were buying or selling them, and when we did it was small change at very meager exchange rates. Additionally there was extreme risk of all of your Litecoins or Bitcoins getting wiped out. Either by loss (hard drive crash, filesystem corruption, client software bugs, etc.) or by some flaw in the crypto currency networks that could wipe out your coins like a 51% attack, double-spend attack, unknown vulnerability, etc. Point is that unless you were a serious Silk Road user, most rational people looked at these as little more than play money, or monopoly money in 2012.

I'm an old school gamer. Remember Zork, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, TradeWars, etc? On occasion I had tried developing games like that. In mid-2012 very shortly after I first became aware of Litecoins I got an itch to do a new game / simulation, one that would help people. The idea was to use Virtual Currency like video game money (eg; WoW Gold or Linden Dollars) and build an environment where people could safely learn about financial markets without having to use their real money. As the site took shape I took steps to make sure that no one would mis-understand the intent. I called it a "Virtual Stock Exchange". (Virtual = not real) I put in clear text saying it was for educational and entertainment use only. I put together a terms of service that made it clear that the assets were not to be considered real, and that there was no underlying value. I programmed it such that the community could create the assets, manage them, and trade them. The idea was that I wanted it to all function with a minimum of day to day management.

Was I short-changing Virtual Currency at this point? Absolutely. I was extremely skeptical that it'd ever amount to anything more than play money. The initial site was Litecoins only and I sold virtual shares in the site itself. (If converted to dollars, the shares sold were pocket change.) Why sell shares at all? I wanted people to be more involved in the site, so I programmed it such that if you held a few shares in the site, you could then be an admin on the site. These admins controlled most of the content of the site via a voting and commenting mechanism and helped the community greatly in the process. I didn't need additional income at the time, my full time day job provided plenty. What I needed was a set of committed "moderators" to manage things so that I wouldn't have to. Keep in mind that "shares sold" are within the 2012 environment outlined above... Virtual Currency, Virtual Exchange, Not Real.

What went wrong? Looking back it seems like a near perfect storm. GLBSE failed and the community asked for a Bitcoin version of my Litecoin site. I was hesitant because I didn't want to spend more time on the project. I offered to sell the code so someone else could do it, but there were no takers and I caved to community pressure in December 2012 and setup the BTC version. Rather than selling shares in the new site, I spent programming time cross-connecting the two sites so that the moderator pool would be shared. Three to four months later BTC skyrocketed in value. (Most likely cause now seems to be manipulation by MtGox) This fundamentally changed how people looked at the sites and their assets. With the virtual currency background and nature of the site's terms, we were not quick enough in the realization of this changing environment, and that we had fallen afoul of US securities laws. We sought legal assistance, trying to figure out what to do, and a month or so later we received a notice from the SEC that an investigation was in progress and that we were not allowed to disclose the investigation publicly. I suspect the gag order was because others in the space were also being investigated and they didn't want us tipping them off.

A week or two after that a judge in Texas declared that "Bitcoins are Money" and the final decision was made to shutter the site.

The legal team did a great job working through the shutdown with the SEC. Steven Ungar, Dwight Holton, Barry Abbott, Jeremy McDermond, John Keller, and Kristen Tranetzki all contributed with their respective expertise. We were very open with the SEC, as we needed to quickly distance ourselves from Trendon Shavers and other cases with Bitcoin that had been ongoing. The SEC was great to work with. They took the time to listen to what we had to say and worked with us to help protect all of the site users interests as much as possible. Lists of asset holders were sent out to all the asset operators, all the users Bitcoins and Litecoins were returned, users were given API access to download their records, and trading quietly came to a close.

Interesting facts:

The site at it's peak had over 50,000 BTC and 200,000 LTC safely on deposit and saw volume of over 30,000 BTC on busy days.

The site broke new ground for security in the space, integrating Yubikey and Google Authenticator, as well as various approaches to managing deposits, withdrawals, and trades such that losses to account compromises were minimal. (No one using the full suite of security features was compromised.)

The site also broke new ground for accessibility. The cutting-edge oAuth API allowed users to create third party Android and iPhone apps and to trade via their own desktop apps. If someone had wanted to, the API was fully featured enough to create a near clone of the site just using the API.

The site also broke new ground in terms of transparency and account records accessibility. Account records were available in several formats such as CSV and JSON and we spent extra time and energy and money out of pocket keeping the CSV records available for more than a year after shutdown so that anyone doing their taxes could get what they needed. (After all, if the site was shut it down for being too “real”, then there were “real” gains and losses to be had.)

The site at shutdown stood out as one of the few in the history of Bitcoin sites that has both closed, and returned users full account balances, proving that the site was not running a fractional reserve as many at the time were.

Starting out as a hobby project, the site ran on a server that was very low-power. It had an Athlon X2 CPU dating back to 2006, 3 GB ram, and a pair of 160 GB HDD's running software RAID 1. The site code was extremely efficient and heavily optimized for speed and caching. Toward mid-2013 however, we started having issues with bitcoind, the Bitcoin software used for the site's hot wallet, and it had to be split off to a separate higher powered server. (no, there's no way I would use this setup today!)

The site was very successful in it's goal of education. I've received numerous emails expressing thanks for the opportunity to trade in a safe environment where people were able to learn about the differences between stocks and bonds, or calls and puts. Many people genuinely used it for it's true purpose of learning and expanding their horizons. If you were one of those people that wrote me, I'd like to extend a huge THANK YOU. Those notes were what kept me going as I dealt with all of the ups and downs.

Cheers ... burnside


Website Update - New Account Service Fees

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL BTC TRADING CORP WEBSITE PARTICIPANTS

Efforts have been ongoing to process all final site withdrawals. Emails have been sent approximately every two weeks to any account holders with deposits still on the site. If you believe you have a deposit on the site and have not heard from us, please check your spam folder first, then email ceo@btct.co for final withdrawal processing.

The Terms of Service has been updated to reflect a new monthly account service fee. If you are still holding a balance on the website please email ceo@btct.co with your account login and your withdrawal address ASAP to avoid any monthly service charges.


Website Shutdown Update - Site Logins Disabled

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL BTC TRADING CORP WEBSITE PARTICIPANTS

Logins have been been disabled according to the winding down plan. Our next step is to process final withdrawals for everyone. We hope to have that completed before Nov 8.


Website Shutdown Update - Trading Halted

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL BTC TRADING CORP WEBSITE PARTICIPANTS

Trading has been halted according to the winding down plan. We will update the site code shortly to allow transfers to and from asset issuers on a per-issue basis where necessary.


Website Shutdown Announcement

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL BTC TRADING CORP WEBSITE PARTICIPANTS

As a result of recent changes in the virtual currency regulatory environment, the btct.co and litecoinglobal.com virtual stock market websites will be closing down.  The following is our current schedule:

  1. Approximately a week ago, both sites were closed to any new users and new asset creation was disabled.
     
  2. Effective immediately, in conjunction with this release, trading will be halted, all order books cleared, and trading re-enabled.
     
  3. October 7, 2013, all forms of secondary market trading will be halted on both sites.
     
  4. Approximately October 31, 2013, both sites will be taken offline.  It is strongly suggested that participants take the following steps to protect all of their virtual assets:
     
    1. All participants should take steps to transfer all of your BTC and LTC (and any other data you wish to keep, such as CSV trade histories) held on the sites to your personal computer or another trusted site.
       
    2. All participants should make sure that their public BTC or LTC address is properly set in the Account page on the Settings tab whereby it can be shared with all issuers.
       
    3. All “issuers” should have the contact information concerning their “investors”, and we ask that all “issuers” communicate with their “investors” as soon as possible as to how they will ensure that all are treated appropriately.

We regret this development. However, we want to do everything we can to minimize problems arising from this transition.  It is our goal to keep this shutdown orderly and calm.

Thank you for your participation, creativity, loyalty and sense of community over the past year.  Additional communications will follow as we work out the details.

Ethan Burnside
BTC Trading Corp.


IMPORTANT! Change in TERMS OF SERVICE
The terms of service have been modified. Please read up on the new terms here: Terms of Service.

Ok, so what's unique about BTC-TC?
  • We're community operated. Asset approval and scoring is done by community moderators.
  • Very competitive transaction fees of 0.25%. Compare to CoinBr at 0.5% and BitFunder at ~0.5%.
  • We are the only exchange that provides Asset Issuers complete lists of shareholders email addresses and share counts in a manner that makes it trivial to continue operations if the exchange shuts down.
  • We're the only virtual coin exchange with an OAuth 1.0a API, allowing full three-legged operation.
  • BTC Trading Corp. is a legally registered Belize international company.
BTC Trading Corp key features:
  • Trade Virtual STOCKS, BONDS, & FUNDS.*
  • Simple, easy to learn interface.
  • *NEW* Trade options on all assets.
  • Per-transaction fee of just 0.25%. (Transaction * 0.0025)
  • Comprehensive portfolio page, see the current value of all your assets.
  • Emailed trade confirmations, notifications, etc.
  • *NEW* Dividend reinvestment program. Configure your reinvestment strategy in the Portfolio Dividends tab.
  • JSON API for querying security value and trade data.
  • OAuth 1.0a API for authenticated portfolio access and trading.
  • Community owned. (litecoinglobal.com, ticker LTC-GLOBAL)
  • 2-Factor authentication using Google Authenticator.
  • Free transfer of BTC between accounts.
  • Free transfer of assets between accounts.
  • You can set your timezone. When logged in, all times adjust accordingly.
  • *NEW* Complete account history available as a downloadable CSV.
  • Withdrawal fee is now 0 BTC per transaction.  (plus anything bitcoind automatically adds.)
  • Dividend scheduler. Plan your future dividends where your shareholders can publicly see them.
  • Asset notifications. Asset owners can notify all shareholders of important events via email.
  • Motions. Asset owners can post motions and all asset holders can vote.
  • Asset Moderation System. Assets are moderated by community members, no single authority holds all the control.
  • Ability to temporarily stop trading on your asset when you have big announcements.
  • Optional Public Portfolio. You can turn on an option that makes your portfolio public. Share your investing prowess with your friends!
  • Create your own security for just 5 BTC.

Unofficial Apps for Android and iOS!

Sergio Abril (eiprol) has released an iPhone App on iTunes called the "BTCT Ticker".

Check it out and download it on iTunes at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/btct-ticker/id694326411?mt=8.



David Henry has released an Android App on Google Play called the "BTC Trading Corp Client".


Check it out and download it on Google Play at: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cryptoSec.btctcclient.

Cheers


BTC Trading Corp Development TODO, sorted by priority:
  • FAQ: Tab for options in the FAQ
  • Wallet: No withdrawals for the first 7 days after opening an account.
  • Wallet: Disable internal transfers if no 2FA has been setup.
  • Portfolio: Analysis of past sales... (by day?)
  • Portfolio: Ability to transfer options.
  • Portfolio: Disable transfers of shares if no 2FA has been setup.
  • Portfolio: My analysis page take into account premium on options purchases.
  • Security page: Bid options
  • Security page: Per-Security Support Requests
  • API: Options trading
  • All forms: randomly generated codes to prevent duplicate form submissions.
  • Options: option to auto-execute the trade at expiration if it's in the money
  • Login page: Display last login ip
  • Site SSL: Look into an EV Cert (thx coinx)
  • Portfolio page: Site actions log
  • Security page: CSV all-time trade history (thx anonadeus)
  • Security page: 2FA on options trading
  • Security page: Stop Loss orders
  • Portfolio page: Summary of recent notifications for assets you hold.
  • Accounts page: Setting to allow users to reserve their balance site-wide, rather than per-asset. (thx Smoovius)
  • Accounts page: Setting to allow users to receive a daily email summarizing their portfolio content.
  • API: RSS trade feed
  • API: Add the username to transfers in the trade history. Currently it only says "transfer-out" or "transfer-in", but not to or from who.
  • Oauth API: include api key in portfolio request or some other request
  • Auto-logout after 15 minutes, with countdown timer.
  • API: read-only scope for viewing just the portfolio
  • API: write options, purchase, sell options
  • Security Page: Editable field for shareholder-only information.
  • News: Option to limit to shareholders only.
  • Security Page: Asset Issuer: Cancel motions.
  • Footer: Link to fees table.
  • Security Page: Downloadable PDF Contract/Prospectus.
  • Security Page: Calculator that is aware of the order book.
  • Security Page: Portfolio tab for assets that flag their portfolios as public.
  • Account Page: Allow auto withdraw for sales, dividends, and when your balance goes over a threshold. (thx SebastianJu)
  • Security Page: New "hidden" order status for unfunded orders, rather than deleting them.
  • Security Page: Support for splits. (thx osoverflow)
  • Portfolio Page: Favorites List.
  • All trades: Post to twitter feed?
  • Support for auto-dividend dispersal account addresses. (thx PeanutPower)
  • ?possible? Security Page: Asset issuer ID verification.
  • ?? Reasonable suggestions ??
Things that have been suggested and we decided not to do:
  • Kick-backs for asset issuers with large volume, eg, 0.5% of transaction fees for assets with over 10k/mo in volume. (thx EMIF) -- (probably not going to do this. it would encourage asset issuers to generate transactions by intentionally inducing volatility --burnside)
  • Security Page: Support for reverse splits. (thx osoverflow) (probably not going to do this... too difficult to resolve partial shares.



* This is a virtual stock exchange using virtual currency. Virtual goods utilized on this site are for entertainment and educational purposes only.