Crypto exchange OKX launches local regulated entity in Australia

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Crypto exchange OKX is moving its Australian-focused services under a locally regulated entity as part of its expansion efforts through the Asia-Pacific region.

Oscar Piastri of McLaren Racing — one of OKX’s main sponsors —officially announced the news at a media event in Sydney on May 14.

“I think Australia is a very underrated market,” said OKX president Hong Fang during an interview with Cointelegraph. 

“I think there is a very good dynamic and customer mix here,” she added. “Good fundamental customers, the investors, are generally educated and sophisticated. They are interested in technology.”

“I think we can bring our strong product suite to the local markets in a very compliant way.”

170 crypto trading pairs will be available to Australian users, OKX noted.

Options trading would also be available in addition to spot trading, Kennedy noted.

“Australian crypto users deserve a platform that is secure, easy-to-use and responds to their needs, which include seamless access to banking rails as well as AUD pairs for the most popular cryptocurrencies,” OKX Australia general manager Jamie Kennedy said in a statement shared with Cointelegraph.

Source: OKX

Fang says Australia offers a “dynamic customer base” for the firm, including both sophisticated traders and others who are interested in crypto but haven’t taken the first step yet.

OKX told Cointelegraph it was opening an Australian office in March last year, explaining there was a “huge appetite” for crypto and it saw the country as “a key growth market.”

The exchange’s Australian-focused services since March 20 moved from a Seychelles-based firm to the on-shore entities OKX Australia Pty Ltd which handles the crypto exchange and fiat services side, and OKX Australia Financial Pty Ltd which handles its derivatives and margin products.

However, Australian laws dictate that local users must pass a suitability assessment and meet the definition of a wholesale client — a legal requirement under the Corporations Act 2001.

Despite the regulatory hurdles, Fang praised Australian regulators for engaging with them in an open and transparent manner.

OKX has also had to stop offering its copy trading, yield-bearing products and trading of some tokens to comply with local laws. Unsupported tokens have been withdrawal-only since March 20.

Related: Australia’s top exchange may approve spot Bitcoin ETFs this year: Report

Fang refrained from speaking in detail about OKX’s payment and banking partners during her time stage but told Cointelegraph that they didn’t foresee issues with their partners in a similar way that competitor crypto exchange Binance experienced in Australia.

“We really put a lot of [that] work upfront […] We made sure we evaluate that question before launch and you know, it’s been more than a year. So if we’re doing it now, it means that we feel comfortable. Otherwise, we would not have come to the market.”

The exchange is the third-largest in the world by volume behind Bybit, seeing $2.8 billion in volume over the past day, according to CoinGecko.

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Update (May 14, 6:04 am UTC): Added additional quotes from OKX President Hong Fang.