OKEx is a digital asset futures trading exchange aimed specifically at institutional traders. Launched in 2017 by Chinese Bitcoin giant OKCoin.com, it was designed to take over from OK Coin, which ceased futures trading in 2017 but remains operational for fiat trading with major digital assets. OKEx also offers customer-to-customer (C2C) trading, spot margin trading, and an index tracker.
Headquartered in Hong Kong, in 2018 it expanded operations to Malta to take advantage of the country’s crypto-friendly regulations, and shortly afterward partnered with the Malta Stock Exchange (MSE). The joint venture aimed to create an ‘institutional grade security-tokens trading platform’ called OKMSX which was scheduled to launch early in 2019.
It is one of the few exchanges to offer a stand-alone desktop platform rather than running through a browser. It purports to provide a safe, reliable, and stable environment for digital asset trading, having adopted GSLB, distributed server clusters, and other advanced technologies. Additional features include low fees, multiple cycles for easy hedging and arbitraging, and margin trading that allows users to maximize profit with 10x or 20x leverage. Traders can choose between several different tiers of account depending on the trading volume and their overall activities.
At the beginning of 2019, OKEx offered hundreds of token and futures trading pairs, serving millions of users in over 100 countries. During the same period, its BTC futures trading had a daily volume of nearly $1.5B.
The platform claims to have implemented state-of-the-art security; for example, only a limited amount of Bitcoin is stored in cold wallet addresses that all have embedded encryption protocols. Despite this, in 2017 users of the platform were subject to an apparent hack. OKEx expressed full confidence in its own security system, stating that it had thwarted all withdrawal operations by attackers, and advised its users to improve their personal security settings.
Mingxing Xu, also known as Star Xu, is the founder of OKCoin.com and OKEx. He previously worked as a development engineer at Yahoo, then as Chief Technical Officer at Docin. In January 2019, he became the largest individual shareholder of a public company listed in Hong Kong via the $60 million acquisition of LEAP Holdings Group, the construction engineering firm.
It was widely rumored at the time that the purchase would bring the exchange a step closer to a possible back-door listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX). Crypto exchanges increasingly opt for reverse-mergers to become publicly listed companies, rather than through a conventional Initial Public Offering (IPO), which is a lengthy and complex process.
The exchange is well capitalized and has attracted over $10 million from investors like Tim Draper, Ceyuan, and Mandra Capital.