OKEx is a cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2017 by Star Xu. Since then they have grown to become one of the top cryptocurrency exchanges out there with over $1.68 million USD daily exchange volume. OKEx has over 800 employees and serves customers in over 100 countries (except the US and some other select countries). The exchange was originally based in China but moved to Malta in 2018 because Malta provided a better regulatory framework for blockchain related activities. The Exchange however primarily operates out of Hong Kong. In this review, we take a look at the Exchange’s features and whether it is secure.
The Exchange offers crypto-to-crypto and crypto-to-fiat trading pairs, futures contracts, perpetual swaps and spot and margin trading etc.
Offering crypto-to-fiat trading pairs is particularly useful as it allows people a convenient one stop shop to immediately expand into cryptocurrency trading. OKEx supports more than 30 fiat currencies including USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD etc. Payments can be made via credit (Visa and Mastercard) and debit cards, WeChat, Alipay or bank transfer.
The Exchange also has its own integrated storage wallet, called OKEx Wallet. This is quite a unique feature not found in other exchanges. It basically is a software wallet which you can store multiple cryptocurrencies safely instead of storing it in your trading account. As it is a software wallet, you can download it and access your cryptocurrencies via your mobile phone.
A handy new feature also allows users to convert small balances of cryptocurrencies left in users’ accounts to OKB i.e. the Exchange’s own token. This is so that instead of having “Bitcoin Dust” lying around your wallet, you can gather up these small balances, tidy up your wallet and turn it into OKB.
What is OKB?
Like many exchanges, OKEx has its own exchange token called OKB.
On the Exchange itself, holding OKB entitles users to trading fee discounts– a minimum of 500 OKB is all that is required and holding 2000 OKB already entitles users to enjoy the maximum discount on trading fees. Aside from the Exchange itself, OKB is accepted in many third party vendors including hotel booking sites, shops and purchasing gas for your vehicle.
To allow users to truly benefit from the Exchange, OKEx launched its OKB buy-back and burn scheme on 4th May 2019. For the period from 1st December 2019 to 29th February 2020, OKEx already burned over 3 million OKB, equivalent to USD $17.5M. Currently, there is 82,838,290.94 OKB in circulation.
OKEx has also announced that it would burn the 700 million unissued OKB and promised not to issue any more OKB tokens. The consequence is that there would be fewer OKB tokens in circulation and thus increasing the value of each token, thereby benefiting its holders.
The Exchange doesn’t charge fees for deposits or withdrawals. As for trading fees, OKEx encourages users to place more orders by adopting a maker-taker fee schedule. The Exchange generally charges 0.10% for maker fees and 0.15% for taker fees.
As with most exchanges, OKEx has incentives for frequent users of their Exchange. The tiers are separated by normal users and VIP users. The larger your OKB holding and trading volume over 30 days, the higher the tier you can achieve. Being a higher tier entitles you to discounts on the maker and taker fees, and a higher 24 hour withdrawal limit. As you can see, if you have a huge trading volume e.g. more than or equal to 50,000 BTC per month, the Exchange would even give rebates when trading.
Is OKEx safe to use?
OKEx has security measures both on the Exchange side, and for its users. OKEx uses distributed storage, as in the exchange uses various cold storage locations in different parts of the world to minimise risk. In terms of the Exchange’s hot wallets, the network stores the private keys offline. On the user side, users must use 2FA verification to access their exchange account. And mobile verification codes are required for withdrawing cryptocurrencies and changing settings.
In its 3 years, OKEx has only suffered one hack. This was in around August 2017 when one user’s account was compromised and as a result they lost around 200 Bitcoin (then worth around USD$750,000). There were also rumours that the Exchange was hacked in September 2019. However this was denied confirmed by OKEx, who said it was in fact a scheduled wallet maintenance. Also, no one had come forward saying that they had suffered any losses, so it is likely just a rumour.
OKEx basically has the usual security measures expected of a cryptocurrency exchange. Both on the Exchange front and also to protect its users. It also has a very good track record compared to some other exchanges. However some other exchanges have additional measures like insurance funds or being under the protection of US Federal Laws which OKEx does not have.