OKEx CEO Jay Hao Talks About Recent Withdrawal Suspension and Safety of Crypto Assets on the Platform
The leading crypto spot and derivatives exchange OKEx recently announced that crypto withdrawal service will be restored on the platform by November 27, after more than a month of suspension. The news has come as a relief to its users.
We reached out to the CEO of OKEx, Jay Hao, and asked a few questions about the recent events and their effect on OKEx and its customers.
Q: It has been an anxious month for many OKEx users. Can you tell us more about the challenges they faced during the withdrawal suspension period?
A: This has been a challenging time for all of us but especially for our users. Whilst they have never had to worry about the safety of their assets as we have repeatedly reassured them that all funds are safe, they have had to deal with uncertainty as we were unable to give them an exact date when withdrawals would be open. Uncertainty can cause inconvenience and stress and we can only apologize for this. We are so very thankful to our users for their continued support and will grow stronger and better together with them.
Q: How did it impact OKEx’s operations?
A: All other operations on the OKEx exchange remained unaffected. We continued to maintain a business as normal approach throughout the suspension period while working on enhancing OKEx’s risk management system to safeguard user assets, supporting the Bitcoin Cash hard fork, listing the new asset BCHA, and airdropping tokens into Bitcoin Cash holders wallets.
We have seen an understandable decrease in trading activity on the exchange. However, we have also received much support and encouragement from our users not only through messages but also when we look at the data from leading platforms such as skew. Despite the withdrawal pause, OKEx held strong among the top bitcoin futures exchanges and is still leading the pack as the number-one derivatives exchange in terms of OI on Bitcoin futures.
We have also continued to forge ahead with new projects to list and in talks with new companies to partner with to build out the OKB ecosystem further and enhance the user experience on our platform. We know that many customers have had their trust in us affected and we sincerely apologize for this. Our work from here on is clear: we will uphold our commitment to winning back user trust and ensuring that OKEx remains their platform of choice for investing and trading digital assets.
Q: What was the reasoning behind the withdrawal suspension? Is the company taking any steps to ensure such an event doesn’t repeat in the future?
A: The reason for the suspension of withdrawals was because one of our private key holders was temporarily unable to authorize transactions. We have a very robust backup mechanism in place for private key holders that makes sure the activation of the backup private key can still be triggered in the event of long-term incapacitation, such as death or memory loss. However, we failed to include other important scenarios, such as private key holders becoming unreachable due to unforeseen circumstances, in our contingency plan.
Clearly, we cannot have a situation where this occurs again and we are now making it our full priority to upgrade and improve our internal processes. It has been a very challenging period but we have learned some very valuable lessons. Most importantly, all user assets have been kept safe this entire period, which has always been our number-one priority at OKEx.
Q: What are your thoughts on this incident, and how do you think OKEx should proceed from here to boost the crypto trading community’s confidence in the platform.
A: I think that the incident highlighted several very important points. It exposed some weaknesses in our internal processes which we are now steadfast in correcting. But it also highlighted the strength of our infrastructure and security in that we were able to safeguard all user assets as well as continue to maintain operations on all other functions of the exchange.
Outside of OKEx, the incident highlighted the cryptocurrency market’s maturity reflected in the price of Bitcoin and other major assets and their resilience to the news. We also found out how supportive and loyal OKEx customers are and how high confidence has remained in our platform. Not only will we be thanking them with generous rewards programs upon resuming withdrawals but we also hope to restore any loss of trust throughout this time.
We will also be continuing to enhance the user experience, roll out new products and features, and listen to customer feedback. Apart from being CEO of OKEx, I have another very important job at the exchange which is Chief Customer Service Officer. I regularly speak to customers one-on-one to identify their pain points, listen to their suggestions, and accelerate their ideas and needs through our product development process.
In order to ensure customers feel that all their concerns are addressed, I will be hosting a live AMA in our Telegram group ahead of the withdrawals this week, in which they can ask me any questions they like about the incident, user security, the resuming of withdrawals, and the rewards programs we are offering – or about anything else for that matter!
Q: Crypto exchanges and trading platforms suspending withdrawals time-to-time has become a common occurrence. In a few cases, these platforms have shut down causing losses to investors. This precedent has caused many to worry when an exchange or a trading platform prevents users from withdrawing their funds at any time. How does OKEx ensure the security of crypto assets to ensure the protection of the interests of investors? Also, please give our readers an insight into the safety and security features safeguarding crypto assets on the platform.
Prior to withdrawals reopening, our team is conducting additional security checks so that we can ensure the safety of resuming normal operations of our hot wallet system. We have garnered years of experience in safely operating digital wallets, assets, and transactions with no major security incidents and this has always been our number-one priority at OKEx.
We invest significant resources in offering some of the most robust security in the industry through a combination of cold and hot wallet storage, and a state-of-the-art risk management system that uses various online and semi-offline protocols to flag up suspicious activity and prevent any large malicious withdrawals. You can find more details about the specifics of our hot wallet system here.
In addition to that, OKEx has always insisted on maintaining 100% reserves ever since its inception. This means that all withdrawals are guaranteed and 100% of user funds can be withdrawn without any restrictions after withdrawals are reopened.
Q: By opening withdrawals after a long time, OKEx may encounter a huge surge in withdrawal requests. Is the platform prepared to handle them?
A: We are fully prepared for any surges in withdrawals as I mentioned earlier. We maintain 100% of reserves and users can withdraw their funds without restrictions. From the continued support we have seen, consistent trading activity, and by maintaining a complete service across the rest of the platform, we believe that confidence remains high in OKEx. We are also making sure that we compensate our loyal users with our newly rolled out reward campaign. However, if we do experience significant withdrawals, we will work hard to restore trust to ensure that OKEx becomes traders’ platform of choice once again.
Q: Would you like to share anything more with our readers?
The reward campaign and initiatives that we are offering as withdrawals reopen are significant and we hope that our users will take advantage of them and accept them as our way of thanks and apology over the incident. We also have many exciting initiatives in the pipeline that will ensure that OKEx maintains its place as a market leader. For more details of the reward campaign, please refer to the announcement here.
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