What Is the OK Exchange?
OKEx is one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, but you may not recognize it if you live in the U.S., Hong Kong, or or one of the other nearly 20 countries it doesn’t service. This Malaysia-based exchange (originally started in China under OKCoin) has a wide selection of trading pairs and is consistently listed in the top three exchanges by trading volume. OKB is the native cryptocurrency token of the OKEx platform.
Originally created in China in 2014, the OKEx team is headed by CRO Tim Byun, COO Andy Cheung, and Director Lennix Lai. It quickly expanded by allowing futures trading, spot trading, loans, and a variety of other advanced strategies. The company reports over $1.5 billion worth of BTC futures traded on a daily basis alone.
Things haven’t been all rosy, however, and you don’t get to the top without a target on your back. OKEx was widely derided by critics for being involved in wash trading. Lai acknowledged the accusations with Crypto Briefing and explained that the exchange is testing a lot of advanced security features to detect and mitigate suspicious trading.
Still, it’s a beloved platform in crypto, and the 2019 launch and further development of its OKChain blockchain mainnet is furthering the love. This new proprietary blockchain would remove OKB from its current status as an Ethereum ERC-20 token and enable decentralized exchanges on a DEX hosted on the blockchain itself.
It’s also joining Binance in funding and incubating blockchain-based startups and developing projects through its OKNodes and OK Jumpstart programs. It’s also securing partnerships like Caspian, a full-stack crypto trading and risk management platform.
Let’s take a look at OKB’s performance on the cryptocurrency market as the company continues expanding its already-impressive pool of trading partners.
OKB Token Cryptocurrency Summary
There’s a total supply 1 billion OKB with 300,000,000 on the market and another 700,000,000 locked until 2022. The peak price of OKB so far was $5.28 on June 19, 2018.
Of the 700 million OKB withheld:
- 100 million is allocated to early investors,
- 200 million is allocated to the founding team,
- 100 million is allocated to the OK Blockchain Foundation, and
- 300 million is allocated for community rewards.
As of 2019, OKB is an ERC-20 token. A token swap is expected to conclude by the end of 2020. It is a utility token, much like Binance Coin (BNB), and 50 percent of service fee earnings (see below for further fee breakdown) from trades is distributed to OKB hodlers in proportion to individual balances.
Holding OKB also entitles you to voting rights, the ability to invest in OKEx-incubated projects, trade on OKDEx, and more.
Over $100 million worth of OKB is traded on a daily basis, and major trading pairs include USDT, BTC, and ETH. While the vast majority of OKB is traded on OKEx, it’s also traded on BKEx, Coinall, DragonEX, and BitMax.
The OKEx has its own wallet, although OKB can also be stored (for now) in any ERC20-compatible cryptocurrency wallet, including MyEtherWallet, Trust Wallet, and hardware wallets from Leder, Trezor, and Archos.
Ok, Why Two Exchanges?
There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the differences between OKCoin and OKEx, especially since both markets are essentially owned/operated by the same organization. The main difference is the types of services offered.
China has a complicated financial system for cryptocurrency companies (especially exchanges) to operate in. The government is notoriously bearish on crypto (or tech in general) projects it doesn’t like, and a lot of popular brands are banned in China.
OKCoin had to create offshore subsidiaries to remain competitive in crypto while still complying with regulations. So essentially OKCoin is a fiat/crypto exchange that supports legacy bank accounts and financial payment tools. This is the consumer bridge to crypto as currency, so think of OKCoin as more akin to a bank.
OKEx, on the other hand, is more like Wall Street markets, with futures and spot trades occurring between strictly digital assets. It’s a market that supports everyone from day traders to noobs and long-term hodlers looking to buy coins to keep with the expectation of returns down the road. There’s a lot more risk involved in these trades, as we learned when a long position on Bitcoin futures cost the rest of the community over $400 million in late 2018.
With these entities separated, the team and general vision can still be accomplished. If this sounds shady to you, it’s no different than what banks and investment firms in companies like the U.S. do.
Bank of America is involved in collateral loans (i.e. mortgages), investments, deposit accounts, etc. When it wanted to be involved in insurance, it did so through the Balboa Insurance subsidiary it bought from Countrywide after the foreclosure crisis. When I leaked documents in 2011 showing how force-placed insurance (aka collateral protection insurance) is a scam, BofA immediately sold Balboa so it could continue operating away from government scrutiny. A few years later, Wells Fargo got hit with massive fines for the same shady insurance practices on auto loans.
The heroes and villains in my story, OKEx, or crypto in general are a matter of opinion and perspective.
Let’s OKExchange Numbers
What matters most in a crypto exchange (besides it being accessible in your country) is the cost. OKEx uses a volume-based maker/taker fee structure. As you trade more within a 30-day period, your level rises, and you get discounted fees. Here’s the chart:
As mentioned above, paying fees in the native OKB token provides discounts.
OKEx has over 170 tokens listed so far with over 550 available crypto trading pairs. The introduction of its own blockchain mainnet and decentralized exchanges will be a great addition to services that already include:
- OKPool – Join mining pools to min SHA256, Ethash, Scrypt, X11, and Blake256 PoW coins like BTC, ETH, LTC, DASH, and DCR.
- Prime Investors – Sophisticated investment firms with at least 500,000 OKB gain early investment access to emerging projects. Prime Investors include VenturesLab, GBC Capital, and Linkvc.
- OKNodes – Build your own push-button cryptocurrency exchange hosted on OKEx’s network and share the profits.
As it continues building, we should see even more services pop up.
OKEx is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, even if it’s not accessible to U.S. users in 2019. Still, it manages a large volume, and the team has aggressive expansion plans to ensure it stays profitable for the foreseeable future. So long as it can remain secure and transparent, it’ll sustain on these key features.
- OKEx allows traditional trading pairs, along with derivatives and other advanced trading techniques. An upcoming OKDEx will solidify its offerings.
- OKB provides a service fee discount, profit sharing, voting rights, and the ability to invest in projects incubated by the OK Blockchain Foundation.
- OKEx has several blockchain incubators focused on growing startups. It’s also partnered with a variety of businesses to remain nimble in the coming years.
With these pieces in place, OKEx is a formidable presence in cryptocurrency. So long as it remains compliant with global financial policies, both the exchange and crypto in general are sure to remain valuable for at least another generation.