Date Posted: 
Thursday, June 22, 2023

The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), Securities Division has received a complaint from a Washington resident regarding (“Btrade”), a purported cryptocurrency trading website offering high-yield investment programs (“HYIPs”). The Btrade website appears to have been taken down.

The investor was introduced to Btrade by an individual named “Lily,” whom they met on Twitter. The conversations quickly moved from Twitter to WhatsApp. After developing a personal relationship, Lily introduced the investor to “Chris,” who described himself as a professional trader that assisted clients with trading on the Btrade website. Chris encouraged the investor to use the cryptocurrency in their Btrade account to invest in publicly traded stocks. Chris promised the investor would receive up to a 200% return on their investment (“ROI”).

Chris instructed the investor to create accounts with Coinbase and Btrade.  Chris sent the investor weekly trade offers that included the investment amount and purported ROI. Chris pressured the investor to invest quickly and frequently, claiming that the offers were time sensitive and that the investor would not be charged withdrawal fees or penalties if they invested more frequently. The investor invested over $77,500 in Bitcoin (“BTC”) and Ethereum (“ETH”) with Btrade. After investing, the investor’s account purportedly grew to $337,000. There is no evidence that the investor’s cryptocurrency was ever used to invest in stocks.

Chris told the investor that to withdraw funds from their Btrade account, they need to have a minimum balance of $100,000 in their account. Chris changed the minimum balance several times. Once the investor met the minimum balance, Chris demanded the investor pay various fees such as a maintenance fee, transfer fee, certificate fee, etc. These fees were not disclosed to the investor prior to investing with Btrade.  

After paying the fees, Chris informed the investor that their bank would not accept payments from Btrade. When the investor offered to transfer the funds to their Coinbase account, Chris requested the investor’s Coinbase login, including the password in order to “link” their account to Btrade. The investor refused. Chris, then, pressured the investor to transfer funds to an online bank called Detrobank (, claiming previous clients were successful in withdrawing their Btrade funds from Detrobank. This appears to be a fraudulent online banking portal. The website appears to be taken down.

The investor never received their funds and was locked out of their Btrade account. The investor attempted to email Btrade but the emails bounced back. The investor lost, including withdrawal fees, a total of $132,173.46. These allegations have not been verified by DFI.

This complaint contained several other red flags indicating fraud (which have also not been verified by DFI), including:

After being locked out of their Btrade account, Chris attempted to have the investor transfer funds to another cryptocurrency HYIP, Bittinvestment ( The transfer would result in a $12,340 “Btrade fee.” This website appears to have been taken down.

Later, it was discovered that “Lily” was impersonating a real person, an actress named Lily. The impersonator’s Twitter handle and account was nearly identical to the real Lily

While trading with Btrade, Lily pressured the investor to loan her money on numerous occasions to help finance a film. Chris also pressured the investor to loan money to Lily.

This appears to be what is commonly called a “Pig Butchering Scheme." Learn more about pig butchering scams.

It also appears to be an “Advance Fee Scheme.” Learn more about advance fee scams.

DFI urges consumers to exercise extreme caution before responding to any solicitation offering investment or financial services. In addition:

  • Do not give out personal identifying information such as banking information, Social Security Number, copies of your passport, or any other sensitive information to anyone online or to a website that you do not know is legitimate.
  • Be cautious of individuals who pressure you to buy right now. 
  • Verify the legitimacy of individuals or firms offering any investment opportunity. Double check the names of websites or account profiles for misspellings that may indicate the individual may be an imposter. 
  • Ask questions and research any investment opportunity presented to you before investing

Investment professionals need to be licensed with DFI to offer investments to Washington residents. In addition, most investment products sold need to be registered with DFI. To check the licensing status and to find out if there are any complaints against an investment professional or investment product, please visit FINRA Brokercheck or contact the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, Securities Division at (360) 902-8760. If you live outside of Washington State, contact your state securities regulator.

If a consumer believes a person or company has violated state law or acted improperly regarding an investment product or service, they may file a formal complaint with the Securities Division.

Additional Resources

Virtual Currency, Cryptocurrency, and Digital Assets Information for Consumers

Information regarding investing strategies, investment products, and how to protect yourself from fraud

Social Media and Investment Fraud