A little history of Bittrex.com - how it all started...

in #bittrex6 years ago (edited)

The question

One of the questions I always get asked is - "How did you get into bitcoins and why did you start bittrex?".  I've always wanted to write a blog detailing the events that lead up to Bittrex's creation but never had the right platform; until maybe now.  This is probably really long winded, but I think its an interesting tale of how we got to where we are today.

In 2011

Like many others, @bittrex-bill and I had stumbled upon bitcoins.  As geeks, we thought the tech was cool, but here was an opportunity to build some kind of business.  We thought we could purchase some gear, mine some bitcoins and sell for a profit; sound familiar to anyone else?  This was during the first run up where BTC hit 35 dollars.  We spent that summer mining and selling, but as the summer started closing out, prices started crashing and interest waned.  I'm pretty sure @bittrex-bill deleted a wallet with a bunch of bitcoins in them cause they just weren't worth the trouble of unloading at that time.  This was our first foray into crypto currency.

Fast forward to 2013

Prices started trending up again and we regretted shutting down our mining operations. ASICs were just starting to come out and we even fell for one of those pre-announced ASIC scams (don't remember what it was called, i try to forget that idiocy). We really wanted a way to acquire bitcoins again. Mining was going to prove untenable, so we brainstormed and started our first crypto based business - GiftcardBTC.  The site had a simple premise - sell giftcards/phone cards for BTC and take a percentage off the top.  Nothing too complicated and thanks to newer infrastructure like coinbase.com, it was easy to collect BTC, convert enough to USD to cover our costs, and pocket fractions of BTC left with every transaction.  This was worked out well and we had created a "bitcoin miner" that was generating bitcoins every day, but we wanted more; 9 months later with both BTC and LTC prices sky rocketing, we decided to to add Litecoin to the mix. Why not accept other crypto currencies? There was minimal infrastructure for other altcoins back in the day. We used coinpayments.net to process payments and withdraw our LTC, but that's where we ran into problems.  There was no programmable way to go from LTC to BTC, then withdraw BTC to convert to USD.  We started looking at exchanges and like btc-e, cryptorush, mintpal, and cryptsy.  To our utter astonishment, none of them had APIs to allow for automated trading/withdrawal.  How was this possible?  Surely we were missing something obvious.  

Ideas from Vegas

That December during one of our standing Vegas trips, @bittrex-bill and I sat around the Pai Gow table and talked for hours on ways of solving the problem.  Screenscrape and script?  Keep LTC and go long?  Stop taking other altcoins?  No.  Surely we weren't the only ones with this need.  There was an opportunity to bring professional software development practices into the wild wild west.  It was then Bittrex was born.  

Let me pause here and give you a bit of history.  Both @bittrex-bill and Rami have worked with me for numerous years at multiple companies.  I've known these guys for over a decade and we work in an industry (infosec/computer security) where trust and integrity is of the utmost importance.  If i didn't fully trust my partners, I would have never moved forward with this venture.  

So we had an idea, and between @bittrex-bill and I, we thought we could pull it off, but wouldn't it be great if we could bring in a little more firepower?  That's when we brought Rami in.  Rami had actually worked for me at Microsoft designing a pretty complex automated security system.  I knew if we needed to design an exchange, he's the one that we wanted to do it.  After a short brainstorming session on new years eve, we had a plan.  Our goal at the time was ambitious.  We were going to design, code, test and launch an exchange in 8 weeks.  The reward?  @bittrex-bill had put up  a bottle of Macallan 25 if we hit our date.  We spent every night till the wee hours of the morning coding and testing. On Feb 13th, 6 weeks after we whiteboarded Bittrex, we soft launched the site (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=463202.0) and followed up with our general availability launch on Feb 28th (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=492758.0).  Rami and I got our bottle of scotch ;)

And the rest is history

The next weeks and months were fire hose of information about the community, exchanges, and other things that I'll save for another post.  However, there were a few things we all agreed on after our first few weeks.

1) We will never trade crypto currencies on our exchange or any other.   There were too many shady things going on in too many places and we would not trade against our customers.
2) We will always hold our exchange to the highest integrity.  No one gets special information.  No one gets special rates.  Transparency is the utmost importance.
3) We will never sacrifice long term gains for short term gains.  We are in for the long haul.

In closing

Bittrex has been around now for 2.5 years without a single security incident.  Our goal is to provide the next generation crypto currency exchange with the best security, features and availability; and even though we are far from perfect and might miss the mark occasionally, we will always strive to deliver on that goal.  

If there is a topic you'd like to hear specifically about from the point of view of an exchange owner, please let us know. 

[email protected]


I have a serious problem with Bittrex, not just me, but 10000s of people, and we need explaantios and reply. Support doesn't give proper info. What's going on?

Long time lurker, first time poster...not really actually.

  1. Curious how Ryan ended up working with you guys, considering you 3 are in Seattle and Ryan is here with me in the Land of Beer (AKA Colorado).

  2. Do you guys ever have intentions of quitting your RL/day jobs and doing Bittrex stuff full-time? I know there are some phenomenal new features and a new UI coming Soon™. Didn't know if that included plans to spend more time with Bittrex and less time with those real life day job schmucks.

  3. Since you guys don't trade how exactly will you handle the STEEM, Steem Power, and SD that you will earn as users here on http://steemit.com? Is it safe to assume that these are considered to be burned, never to be touched? Will bittrex some day do a giveaway of what you guys earn through your posts?

I don't know if you had intended on this being a Q&A or not, but it is now, so suck it up.

  1. That is a whole story by itself. The tl;dr version is Ryan used to run an exchange, cryptoaltex (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=485439.0) and hung out in our IRC channel. Somewhere down the road he decided to close down his exchange. He will claim it was cause we were out to steal his bike, but I think he got tired of all the nonsense that we as service owners had to deal with. Either way, it worked out for both of us cause we needed someone that understood the community and how to support an exchange and he was looking for something to do in his spare time.
  2. Ahhh... a lot has changed in the last 2 months that hasn't been well publicized. Bill quit his job and has been full time on Bittrex since early May. Rami also took a sabbatical around the same time and I believe he is turning his notice in any day now as well. That leaves me the odd man out for now.
  3. Honestly in this case, we may sell some of our SBD or convert it to SP. I don't know if I categorize that as trading since we aren't buying and selling for profit, but I guess some could construe it that way. We obviously do sell bitcoin to get USD to pay bills and when we start offering fiat trading, will probably use our own exchange to convert those funds. I'm sure a more official statement will be made when we get to that point.

Feel free to Q&A up, but if anyone has a topic that'd like to hear about, I'd like to hear those too...

[email protected]

Don't worry @bittrex-richie and @bittrex-bill, I'll take those Steemdollars off your hands to help relieve you of any temptations...

If you guys ever need a helping hand in the Seattle area, let me know, infrastructure, wireless, ccna skills. (+more) will work for Satoshis.

"Long time lurker, first time poster...not really actually."
That is mad funny tho!


I'm pretty sure @bittrex-bill deleted a wallet with a bunch of bitcoins in them cause they just weren't worth the trouble of unloading at that time.

How many were in the wallet? Does he know the public address at least?

it was only 2-3 .... no enough to cry over heh

Hey! I am pretty sure I have used bittrex since 2013, although I have to admit I mostly traded the coins that didn't exist on other exchanges, but it wasn't much because of the site, just that I used kraken for my daily trades.

But I am glad bittrex is one of the few clean ones who have never had anything gone wrong on a massive scale and hope the future is looking good for you guys and the rest of this technology. :)

Good to have you guys actively on here!

Bittrex has all my time and attention now, never thought I would ever think less of poloniex, but my experience on bittrex... well... is better

Thanks Richie. It's great that Bittrex supports the alt-coin community well. Locking things down on security is good for all of us.

Thanks for the info!..Actually using Bittrex right now as i post this!

Thanks for your support. And if you have suggestions on how to improve it, please let us know. We're working on a significant update to the site that will beta in August so now is the time for feedback.

Bittrex is one of my top "Go To" exchanges. I have never had a problem with any deposits/withdrawals/trades, and the interface is very well organized. Keep up the great work!

Yes, I agree. Its been a great relief to shift from polo to bittrex. Keep up the good work, and the communication :)

Total shit platform.Locked out. They need the slaves to upload their Gov ID. Everything what Bitcoin and the cryptos stand for, free humanity, they do not support. Avoid at all costs.

I can verify that @bittrex-richie and the team do hold all 3 of those values to this day.

That is also the reason why they are the only exchange that I deal with day to day on everything that I have worked on.

Any chance you can explain how to send steem from openledger to bittrex?

Wicked story Richie. Upvoted. Goodluck to you guys.

How I wish I could do like you and build my own business! Congrats, it's not easy. One needs the right people at the right time.

I love Bittrex. Options are so plentiful

I have a question, if you don't trade altcoin, how could you convert the altcoin commissions to btc, since there is 0.25% altcoin trading commission?

All commission is taken in BTC.

i dont use bittrex, but i want to know if i can deposit directly by visa $.
why its so difficult to implement that on trading sites? (i use poloniex, they also dont have)

Ive used the site, its pleasing to the eye.

Too bad about the way buy and sell books are set up because you guys could be serious contenders.

Hi, Sorry for not understanding, I am due to withdraw in two days, how do I link Steemit with Bittrex so I am able to get cash? Please could you help me as nobody seems to know what I am talking about?

Did it work?

this was 11 months ago Thats amazing news very secure but having a problem withdrawing ?? is anyone else experiencing this?

learning about the site so that i can get started on it, doing trading and investing bla bla, so well its really nice to come across this post , and have a little history as to the makings of this site, a bit new to all of it, cryptocurrencies , exchanges , etc. my boyfriend introduced me to bittrex and made me learn about it. and from all the learning i think it is awesome.

Hi Richie, Thank you! I have been interacting with you on Twitter, and have always found you very receptive and cooperative. I personally thank you for that. Please continue the great work you all are doing. You are helping to creating a new world. And in your world 'conquering the wild wild west' :) Can you shed some light on how soon Algo trading and Margin trading is going to start. I am sure that once CME Futures come in, the entire game will change once again. Helping people trade 24*7 would further enhance volumes and liquidity. Thank you! Finally, can you provide some YouTube Instructional Videos. Do consider having Training partners. There are so many videos in so many languages about how to open accounts and trade in Bittrex, but an officialversion/franchisee model would help to further propogate this movement.

Thanks, great story. From my point of view your interface is the best comparing exchanges I know. You the ones who made it possible create orders without any calculations. This simple thing brings much more convinience comparing Poloniex, Kraken and others.
What do you think about passwordless auth system based on blockchain? Do you have problems with user credentials or 2FA?

Thank you for sharing this , I am new , I want to invest my money for awhile , maybe a year , but I wanted to get something set up ahead of time for when I am ready to cash out :)

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