NewsBTC asked a few questions to Jay Hao, CEO of the world’s leading crypto-asset exchange and trading platform to understand his perspective of the current global economic scenario and future of cryptocurrencies. In this interview, Hao also offered some insights into how OKEx is preparing itself to achieve growth in the near future.
Q: The world is going through some tough times, with the mainstream financial markets taking a huge hit. How has this impacted OKEx?
A: With unemployment rates skyrocketing around the world and global uncertainty over the pandemic, I am afraid that the worst of the economic fallout may still be to come. Our industry as a whole has shown incredible resilience to global events so far and the cryptocurrency space continues to thrive.
As most traditional companies are forced to lay off staff, many in crypto are hiring, including OKEx. The very nature of our work means that our teams can work remotely and so, in this sense, the lockdowns that have affected our employees at different times around the globe have not impacted us too much as a company.
As for the huge hit in the financial markets, Black Thursday in March when the stock market crashed and the selloff spilled over into the cryptocurrency market, many users suffered from technical issues but OKEx held its own very well.
We weathered the volatility and the robustness of our infrastructure was apparent as we were able to deliver a stable trading service throughout. We actually took the lead among derivatives exchanges at our peak processing 98.436 trades over a one-minute interval!
As an exchange, the unfortunate drop in BTC price and increase in trading was profitable for us in the short-term. However, we have seen a downturn in trading volume in the following months, as have exchanges across the board. This is expected as many traders that were liquidated have exited temporarily. It may take a little while for their confidence to return.
However, we’re extremely bullish on crypto for the long-term and strongly believe that this crisis will turn more people away from the traditional financial system. We’re busy building our ecosystem and offering more tools and products. We launched OKChain in February before the crisis took hold and were able to commit to open source two months later. We’ve also partnered with Ethereum making OKPool one of the first mining pools to become a validator on the Topaz ETH 2.0 testnet.
Along with this, we have expanded our DeFi offer to add C2C loans as well as other products and we continue to hold successful token sales via OKEx Jumpstart. Our latest one registered a 300% surge. All in all, OKEx is extremely healthy and growing constantly. We are hopeful for the future and work hard to consolidate our place in the industry.
Q: So far, the response from the crypto community has been mixed. The expectation of a huge surge in BTC price following halving didn’t materialize as imagined. What is your outlook for crypto in the current scenario?
A: In some ways, the halving happened at a very timely moment in that Bitcoin did the exact opposite of what we’re seeing with unlimited QE in major economies. This will be very important as people begin to understand concepts like money supply, inflation, QE, etc. and how it affects them. On the other hand, Bitcoin doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The COVID-19 crisis not over and the worst of the economic fallout may still be yet to come. We could see markets further affected by sell-off pressure.
In these circumstances, I think that Bitcoin has shown incredible price resistance and it is not surprising to me that the price has not surged yet. This is the worst economic crisis in a century and with a smaller block reward, some miners may be forced out of the game if the price spirals down again. That said, my outlook on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, in general, is very bullish for the long-term. I think the price surge is inevitable, but we will have to have a longer view.
Q: How does OKEx plan to weather the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: We will continue to build, grow, and innovate. We are still hiring, we have many exciting initiatives, and we are hopeful that the pandemic will be behind us soon. We have already proven how robust our infrastructure is and that we can cope with unexpected volatility. As for our employees, their wellbeing is of utmost importance to us. At the start of the pandemic, OKEx offered a work from home policy to all employees and has just lifted up. They will only go to OKEx offices if it is safe to do so and we ensure sanitized and safe places for them to work, we also allow them to work from home where needed.
We are also initiating our OKEx Beacon Program next month which is a Masterclass and mentorship program especially for participants in Europe, one of the areas hardest hit by unemployment. I and our Director of Financial Markets Lennix Lai will be mentoring participants after a masterclass given by prominent journalists in the space. We hope that this will encourage people affected by the crisis to take the next steps and start their career in crypto.
Q: OKEx is known for frequently releasing new products and features based on the community’s needs and requirements. What can we expect in the coming days?
A: Next month, we will be focusing on expanding knowledge of the blockchain space especially to people who have been affected by economic hardship. With the Beacon Program, we aim to grow with the community beyond products and features and stimulate insightful engagement with the industry. Through this initiative, with expert masterclasses and 1:3 mentoring with our executives, we hope that such direct and personal engagement will enrich blockchain knowledge on both sides and perhaps stimulate new chemistry.
Product-wise, we are going to have a big announcement over options trading soon, stay tuned!
Q: There are many people out there interested in working on exciting projects. How can one become part of what you all at OKEx are doing?
A: Reach out to us and tell us what you can bring to the table! We have a vacancy page on LinkedIn and we also accept resumes on an ongoing basis. We’re constantly on the lookout for new talent across all areas. As a world-leading cryptocurrency spot and derivatives exchange, with a giant ecosystem, we’re always in need of new hands! If you want to work in a fast-paced, challenging but always exciting environment where you will be learning and innovating constantly OKEx could be the place for you.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: Over the last few days, I have been reaching out to OKEx customers, asking for their feedback, and answering their questions personally. It has been an enlightening experience and I think it’s very good for all CEOs to be on the front lines with their customers to understand their pain points so they can improve their products and services.
OKEx is not like a traditional company where management is very distant from employees. We cultivate an environment that encourages our staff to speak up and provide their ideas, tell us when we’re doing something wrong. This way, we learn and grow together as a team and alongside our customers.
OKEx has come a very long way and I am proud of all that we have achieved so far. Without a doubt, it’s due to our amazingly talented team.