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Company typePrivately held company
FounderStar Xu
Area served
Key people
  • Star Xu (CEO)
  • Jeff Ren (CIO)
  • Haider Rafique (CMO)
  • Tim Byun (Global Government Relations Officer)
  • Lennix Lai (Managing Director)
  • Hong Fang (President)
ProductsCryptocurrency Exchange, NFT Marketplace, OKX Wallet, Bitcoin, Ethereum
Number of employees
2,000+ (2022)

OKX is a global cryptocurrency spot and derivatives exchange and the second biggest crypto exchange by trading volume, serving over 50 million people globally.[2][3] It was founded by Star Xu in 2017, who is also the CEO as of 2023.[4] The President is Hong Fang[5] and the CMO is Haider Rafique.[6] OKX is owned by OK Group, which also owns the crypto exchange Okcoin.[7][8]

OKX is a platform where investors can buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies.[9] It currently operates in global markets including Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, The Bahamas, and France. OKX has offices in Dubai, Turkey, Hong Kong, Silicon Valley, Singapore, and Australia.[10][11][12][13] OKX has partnerships with brands and sports teams like Manchester City, McLaren, and the Australian Olympic Team. OKX has sponsored the Tribeca Film Festival since 2022 and holds exclusivity for non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces, cryptocurrency exchanges at Tribeca events.[14][15]


2017: Company beginnings[edit]

The company was launched by Star Xu in 2017. It is a global company with offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, the UAE, the Bahamas and the United States.

On April 11, 2018, the company announced its expansion to Malta, given the country's efforts to provide a sound regulatory framework for blockchain businesses and digital asset exchanges.[16]

2018–2021: Exchange growth[edit]

In May 2018, OKX became the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by reported turnover.[17]

In June 2018, the platform became one of the largest exchanges to launch and offer a cryptocurrency exchange white label service, where applicants must have solid industry experience and $2.5 million in their accounts.[18]

In November 2019, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) announced new digital asset exchange rules. According to Reuters, OKX said they do not expect to see many exchanges opting into the new regulations, but said the new rules are positive for the industry.[19]

On November 19, 2019, the cryptocurrency exchange said that they previously opened their Indian Telegram group a year before opening their Indian operations.[20]

On November 25, 2019, the company announced four major partners for its global utility token "OKB".[21]

According to Reuters, in February 2021 OKX saw its biggest trading volume in history, up 26% from the previous month to $188 billion.[22]

In June 2021, Baidu, Weibo, and other Chinese Internet platforms blocked keywords such as "OKEx", "Binance", and "Huobi".[23]

2022–2023: Recent expansion[edit]

In January 2022, OKEx rebranded to OKX.[24][25] In March 2022, OKX rejected calls to ban Russian crypto trading.[26]

In July 2022, OKX received a provisional virtual asset license in Dubai, which would allow OKX to provide access to some products and services to investors in the United Arab Emirates.[27]

In December 2022, The Bahamas Economic Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis announced that OKX plans to increase its staff in The Bahamas to roughly 100 employees over the next three years. OKX plans to use The Bahamas as a regional hub for investors within the Caribbean and Latin America.[28]

In January 2023, OKX released its proof of reserves report showing it has the largest clean asset reserves of all large crypto exchanges. The cleanliness of assets is a metric developed by CryptoQuant to measure the reliance of an exchange on its native token.[29][30][31]

In February 2023, OKX, along with other exchanges, applied for licenses in Hong Kong. The licenses are a new requirement to operate in the city that go into effect in June.[32] The new rulebook allows investors to trade larger tokens while offering safeguards like knowledge tests, appropriate risk profiling and reasonable limits on exposure.[33] In an interview with Bloomberg, OKX President Hong Fang said OKX will continue building banking relationships in Hong Kong and different jurisdictions. According to Fang, OKX's business strategy will focus on building technology and maintaining long-term consistency instead of short-term trading profit.[5]

In March 2023, OKX applied for a virtual asset license in Hong Kong, two months before the city officially made crypto trading fully legal.[34] OKX also announced plans to open an office in Australia.[citation needed]

In April 2023, OKX joined Copper's ClearLoop Platform, allowing Copper's clients to trade on the OKX exchange while their digital assets remain within Copper’s infrastructure.[35] In April 2023, OKX incorporated in France and has since announced plans to build out its European hub in Paris.[36] In April 2023, OKX enabled the viewing and transfer of Bitcoin Ordinals (NFTs with data such as images or videos attached) within the OKX wallet.[37]

In May 2023, OKX announced that it plans to open an office in Turkey in the coming months.[38]

In June 2023, OKX became the first client to use Komainu Connect, a Nomura-backed regulated settlement and custody system that offers 24/7 trading.[39] OKX received a license to offer spot trading in Dubai.[40]

In July 2023, OKX's offshore market share rose to 11%, nearly doubling from January.[41]

In August 2023, Hong Kong began issuing licenses under a new system to regulate crypto exchanges offering trading in tokens like Bitcoin and Ethereum. OKX has reported it will apply for a license.[42] OKX also partnered with CoinRoutes to provide clients with a full range of API-enabled trading services. The CoinRoutes interface measures trading performance using algorithms, market data, and a proprietary transaction cost analysis feature.[43][44]

In September 2023, OKX published its eleventh Proof of Reserve (PoR) report. The report shows the exchange holds a BTC reserve ratio of 102%. It also discloses the collateralization ratios for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, and USD Coin (USDC) deposits.[45]

Sponsorship and advertising[edit]

In March 2022, Manchester City announced a partnership with OKX as their official cryptocurrency partner[46][47] and later in July, as the training kit sponsor for the men's and women's team.[48] In February 2023, OKX announced a partnership with Manchester City players İlkay Gündoğan, Jack Grealish, Rúben Dias and Alex Greenwood to endorse a new fan offering based on exclusive ‘immersive metaverse experiences’ for the rest of the season.[49] In July 2023, OKX signed a new deal reportedly worth £55 million over three years to replace Nexen Tire as Manchester City's new shirt sleeve sponsor.[50]

In May 2022, OKX signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with McLaren as a primary partner.[51] In September of the same year, OKX and McLaren unveiled a cyberpunk-inspired livery by enhancing the iconic Fluro Papaya colorway with flourishes of pink and cyberpunk-inspired engine illustrations for the 2022 Singapore and Japanese Grands Prix.[52] The sponsorship deal was expanded in March 2023, making OKX an official primary partner of McLaren. The expanded deal includes increased branding presence on the McLaren F1 Team's race cars and OKX supporting the McLaren Shadow esports team.[53] OKX partnered with McLaren to race a "stealth mode" livery that switches McLaren’s usual colourway and augmenting black against their classic papaya trim for the 2023 Singapore and Japanese Grand Prix.[54][55]

Tribeca Festival signed OKX as its new top sponsor in June 2022.[56] At Tribeca events, OKX holds exclusivity for non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces, cryptocurrency exchanges, usage of social tokens, and De-Fi and Game Fi trading categories.[57]

OKX is sponsoring the Tribeca Film Festival again in 2023. In 2023, OKX created a "Tribeca Festival NFT Pass" and an "NFT Lab" for attendees. The "NFT Lab" allows people to mint their own NFTs and make an NFT for free using generative AI.[58]

OKX debuted a multi-million dollar brand campaign in September 2022. The "What is OKX?" campaign featured professional football manager Pep Guardiola, Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo and Olympic snowboarder Scotty James. The campaign’s focus was to expand awareness of OKX beyond Asia.[59]

OKX has also partnered with the Australian Olympic Team.[60]

In June 2023, OKX signed a sponsorship deal with LIV Golf team Majesticks GC through the 2024 season.[61]

Criticism and controversies[edit]

In March 2018, some major cryptocurrency exchanges were said to be charging up to one million dollars to have their tokens listed. In response to Insider, a PR manager for OKX denied this, saying there are no listing fees for any tokens.[62]

On July 30, 2018, a trader reportedly bought bitcoin futures with a $416 million notional value on margin before being forced by the exchange to liquidate his position at a large loss. The exchange injected 2,500 Bitcoins—worth about $18 million at the time—into an insurance fund to help minimize the impact on clients. However, to cover for the outstanding amount, traders who had made an unrealized profit during the previous week still had to pay a clawback rate of 17 percent, the so-called "socialized clawback".[63]

Initially headquartered in Beijing, China,[64] OKX is now under a blanket ban by Chinese regulators.[65] On October 13, 2021, it issued a "Notice on Regulatory Policy in Mainland China", announcing that it would continue its policy of "withdrawing from the Chinese mainland market" and would not establish an office or team in the region.[66] However, according to Caixin, although the exchange officially announced that it would no longer set up an office in Mainland China, it still has a large number of R&D staff working in the region, including engineers, who continue to work for OKX in the form of third-party outsourcing companies.[67]

In October 2019, Star Xu and Yongxing Yang had a dispute. Yang broke the news to the media that several of his accounts on the OKX platform had been frozen and canceled for no reason, resulting in a reported loss in assets of about 800 million RMB and that a case against OKX and Star Xu by him and other investors had been officially filed in the Hangzhou Internet Court.[68]

On October 16, 2020 OKX temporarily suspended withdrawals as the founder cooperated with a police investigation.[69][70] On November 19, 2020 OKX announced that withdrawals would reopen and will resume on or before November 27.[71]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jing Yang. "Digital currencies and the virtual currency in the sense of financial regulation". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on May 24, 2021.
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External links[edit]