One of the leading crypto exchanges — OKEx — has had a significant community presence in the Philippines even before the current bull run, where a new stream of international crypto companies appear to be looking to fill roles to expand locally. In the last three years, OKEx events are a staple in the local scene and its local Telegram group one of the most active.
OKEx had a head start, and it continued to stay relevant despite the aggressive local expansion last year of another leading crypto exchange Binance and P2P marketplace Paxful. However, specifically for P2P, OKEx played catch up in the country. With the launch of local P2P, does it mean the Philippines is back in OKEx’s priority list? BitPinas interviewed Jay Hao, CEO of OKEx, to learn more about the company’s plans for the Philippines and Southeast Asia, his thoughts on DeFi, and how the exchange was able to get through its problems in 2020.
BitPinas: What are your views on the Philippines’ crypto market? Why did OKEx decide to support P2P locally?
Jay Hao, OKEx CEO: The Philippines crypto market is prolific, since we first opened up our P2P platform to PHP transactions in February this year, we have been experiencing growing P2P volume and receiving lots of inquiries on applying for verified merchants and how to start trading on OKEx P2P.
A number of P2P Players — Binance and Paxful had arrived strong in the Philippines. Do you see this as a positive for crypto adoption or a stress for OKEx adoption?
We see P2P as a means for crypto to step into mass adoption in the Philippines. With about 70% of the adult population being unbanked, the Philippines is in great need of cryptocurrency as an instrument to make financial services more accessible to the general public in the country.
Competition is healthy and it forces the industry player, i.e. us, to do better and focus on providing users with the experience they deserve. Not only with the trading options but the whole crypto experience from trading to education, at OKEx, we put a lot of resources into OKEx Academy to spread the knowledge about different crypto assets, the technology, trading skills, and terminology, etc. Day in day out, my team keeps themselves close to the market and optimizes our products according to our users’ needs.
What are OKEX’s future plans for the Philippines and Southeast Asia markets in the next three years?
We strongly believe that both the Philippines and the overall SEA region have huge potential for growth. Building the fiat gateway locally and localizing our products to best fit the sole market has always been our core goal. Looking forward, we are also exploring our options to comply with local regulations and apply for a license where needed.
What are the current plans OKEx has for DeFi and NFT? Does OKEx plan to launch an OKEx NFT marketplace?
Most new DeFi protocols and tokens began to rise in value at a time when Bitcoin was displaying an uncharacteristic lack of volatility over time. As we know, things change very quickly in the cryptocurrency space. We have always been firm believers in the potential of DeFi at OKEx, yet have also always stated that DeFi is a marathon and not a sprint. We have been onboarding many DeFi protocols and will continue to cherry-pick the high potential ones onto OKExChain as well. We shall look up at OKEx Earn to be the bridge between CeFi and DeFi.
We are pleased to see the rapid development in NFTs and the positive response in the market. The opportunities are endless – do stay tuned for what we have in store in this space!
Why are you keen in supporting the Lightning Network?
At OKEx, we always put user experience first. Our partnership with the Lightning Network will drastically improve user experience in transferring Bitcoin in and out of OKEx much faster and cheaper, making Bitcoin even more accessible to people.
We believe high accessibility and great user experience are the keys to drawing more people into the crypto space and helping them attain financial freedom outside of traditional finance. This partnership is taking us a big step closer to our goals. We are excited to have Lightning Labs along the way towards a blockchain-driven future together.
How were you able to get through OKEx’s problems in 2020 (ETC double-spend attack, paused withdrawals from the exchange)
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused by the ETC 51% attack and the temporarily pausing of withdrawals. That said, we are encouraged by the data showing that OKEx continues to maintain a leading position among crypto derivatives exchanges. We are also overwhelmed by the support shown to us by many users and are confident that inflows into the exchange alongside the bull market.
Adhering closely to our commitment to providing high-quality services to our customers, OKEx has been continuously improving the overall user experience with lots of new product launches and system upgrades. The integration of the Bitcoin Lightning Network, dramatically decreases transaction fees and times enhancing user experience. Moreover, we also became one of the first major trading platforms to incorporate Unified Account management for its users, with a highly developed risk-management system that makes it unique in the market. We look forward to launching many more exciting initiatives down the line – with the goal to provide one of the best investment experiences in the crypto ecosystem.
This article is published on BitPinas: OKEx CEO Jay Hao Discusses P2P, DeFi and the Philippine Crypto Market