Singapore, SINGAPORE – In a shock move to an already embattled OKEx, Chris Lee, the CEO of Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange OKEx has announced that he will be resigning to join the company’s arch-rival, Singapore-based Huobi as its vice president of global business development. The move, seen by some as a step-down will no doubt fuel speculation after recent allegations from traders and investors that OKEx has been manipulating Bitcoin futures on its trading platform. Lee’s public note on WeChat, which hints that all may not be well at one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges will do little to quell these allegations,
“For my former employer, I have done all I could … The first generation of OKCoin’s international and management teams have left. How many of the second generation are still there? And how many CTOs have left in the last three to four years?”
On March 30, OKEx rolled back Bitcoin futures trading, citing what it termed an “irregular” sell-off and later denied that it “triggered forced liquidations of accounts by manipulating the prices.” The exchange, in a statement said at the time,
“We have not reason to, and have never and will not, manipulate the prices of any of our market.”
But according to a source close to the exchange who spoke on condition of anonymity,
“The margins at exchanges are thinning out. There are literally thousands of exchanges now and new ones are popping up everyday. I wouldn’t be surprised if they (OKEx) were indeed rigging the game.”
With limited regulation, cryptocurrency exchanges have long been the bugbear of cryptocurrency investors and traders. Japan, which is often seen as the most progressive when it comes to cryptocurrency regulation has eleven self-regulating exchanges, but the move has not prevented hackings of these exchanges, although it has for the most part prevented the most egregious of price fixing. According to one Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency trader who declined to be named,
“Liquidity is a big problem. Especially on the smaller exchanges. There’s no limit to the rigging activities that some of these smaller outfits can get up to.”
According to an announcement by Singapore-based Huobi on Monday, Lee will head the group’s global mergers and acquisitions strategy and supervise international development as the exchange moves towards global expansion. According to Lee,
“I am a big believer in blockchain technology and view exchanges as the heart of the industry.”
Lee had been with OKEx’s parent firm OKCoin since 2015. He was appointed CEO of OKEx after his predecessor, OKCoin founder Star Xu, stepped down from the role in February.
I've officially joined Huobi group as secretary of the board of Directors & Vice president of International business development
— Chris Lee (@ChrisLEE_Crypto) May 21, 2018
Huobi has been expanding aggressively and Lee’s joining the Singapore-based exchange will no doubt fuel their expansion.