OKEx is one of the biggest digital asset exchanges in the world and frequently tops Coinmarketcap’s trading volume ranking. The exchange that was founded in 2017, has now officially moved its headquarters to Malta as the first step of its future international expansion plans. OKEx’s Head of Operations, Andy Cheung, gave ihodl.com some insights about his company’s projects in Europe.
This summer it was revealed that you are engaged in a new platform called OKMSX. What is it about?
OKMSX is a joint venture formed by OKEx, the Malta Stock Exchange, and their fintech branch MSX. This project revolves around the trading of security tokens. We have already signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with MSX to formalize the partnership.
When do you plan to launch this project?
We don’t have a concrete launch date yet. Our goal is to have it ready early next year.
Tell us about your office in Malta. What type of positions are you looking for?
We already have three employees here in the Malta office, including a general manager and a project manager. We’re also setting up a compliance team here. Now we are looking for a lot of different talents. We need experts of marketing, business development, and operations. But one of the most needed roles, for now, is a finance manager.
As Malta is now our headquarters and the European hub, I can say that we need the same roles we currently have in our Hong Kong operations hub. We are targeting to acquire people for a minimum of 15-20 extra positions within next month. And of course, we will continue to grow and expand, even more exponentially next year.
What are your plans for the European market?
We will leverage our presence here in Malta. First of all, of course, we are now working on the details with the Maltese government to complete our license application. The next step will be seeking collaborations with banks that support blockchain development.
"After all the framework here is established, we will expand from here to other European countries."
We already have users from all over the world. But at the moment, we want to focus on a few specific countries, such as Russia, the UK, and countries where cryptocurrency is more widely adopted. We are planning to set up more offices across Europe, offices which are more focused on business development. Our Malta office will remain as our operations hub.
During the recent Delta Summit, banking sector expert Roderick Psaila predicted: within next year, 2 or 3 new banks, that offer their service to blockchain startups, will arrive in Malta and will grab for themselves that market segment [users and partners – ihodl] from those banks that refuse to have anything to do with cryptocurrencies. Is it possible?
My vision is aligned with the prime minister of Malta. We both believe that cryptocurrency is the future. I’m also confident that Malta will be able to attract banks to collaborate with blockchain or crypto-centric companies in the course of building the Blockchain Island.
"The big names have already stepped into the industry."
In fact, banks from all over the world are already putting blockchain technology into their businesses and applying for patents. Many other big corporates are doing the same thing, and we’re talking about traditional companies. The big names have already stepped into the industry.
So, I’m really optimistic that banks will be more and more open to blockchain and crypto companies. The blockchain trend is already unstoppable, and with the competition from the highly possible new banks suggested by Mr. Roderick Psaila, we may see traditional banks joining to ride the tide sooner than we expect.
The interview was done in collaboration with Matteo Oddi, PR and Marketing Manager for Exante.