OKEX is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the industry, with daily trading volumes often surpassing the $1 billion mark. The platform offers both crypto-to-crypto and fiat-to-crypto pairs, and in some cases, deposits and withdrawals in the form of a bank transfer.
If you’re thinking about opening an account at OKEX to trade crypto, then we would suggest that you first read our comprehensive review. We’ll discuss everything you need to know, such as OKEX fees, payment methods, supported countries, security, and more.
Our Recommended Crypto Exchange
Our Recommended Crypto Exchange
If you don’t have the time to read our review, then we summarized by noting that we cannot endorse OKEX as a notable crypto exchange. The main reasons for this are that the platform charges high fees, and the fact that they took money from profitable traders in 2018 in response to their multi-million dollar futures-contract mistake.
We instead prefer heavily regulated and transparent exchanges such as Coinbase, who not only offer ultra-low fees and a super easy-to-use platform, but users can seamlessly deposit funds via a debit/credit card and e-wallets such as PayPal and Skrill.
What is OKEX?
Launched in 2014 and originally based in China, OKEX is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to buy, sell and trade a range of digital coins. The platform is often regarded as one of the largest, as trading volumes often amount to more $1 billion per day.
The platform has grown so quickly that it now employs over 700 employees. OKEX lists hundreds of cryptocurrencies, which ranges from popular coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as relatively unknown tokens such as Grin, RefToken and Smartshare.
OKEX now offers fiat currency deposits and withdrawals in the form of a bank transfer, although users are still unable to buy Bitcoin with PayPal or a debit/credit card.
How does OKEX Work?
As a third party cryptocurrency exchange, OKEX allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. In this sense, the platform matches buyers and sellers, and in return, makes its money by charging a trading fee.
OKEX can be used as a crypto day trading platform, or simply to obtain a specific coin. Once users have bought a cryptocurrency, they can decide to store it with OKEX (not recommended), or alternatively, withdraw the funds to a private wallet.
Registered users of OKEX can also buy and sell futures contracts via the exchange. However, this segment of the business made headlines last year, where a Bitcoin contract worth more than $400 million was liquidated when OKEX froze the trader’s account. They subsequently covered the losses by taking money from profitable traders.
What cryptocurrencies does OKEX support?
OKEX has one of the largest lists of supported cryptocurrencies, which at the time of writing, includes more than 300 trading pairs. This covers established cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple, as well as a full selection of ERC-20 tokens. Here’s the full list of supported coins at OKEX.
Which countries does OKEX support?
Although OKEX is technically a global exchange, not all countries are supported. Most notably, traders from the United States are not allowed to open an account at OKEX. Here is the full list of prohibited countries.
If you are based in the United States and you’re looking for an inclusive cryptocurrency exchange, you should consider Coinbase.
OKEX payment methods and fees
OKEX is very limited when it comes to supported payment methods. Although fiat currency is supported, you can only deposit funds via a bank transfer. This means that you will likely need to wait 3-5 working days before the funds are credited. This makes it inconvenient if you want to buy Ethereum or other cryptocurrencies instantly. The only other option available is that of cryptocurrency deposits.
When it comes to trading fees at OKEX, the platform utilizes a pricing structure that is based on the amount that you trade each month. The more you trade in a 30 day period, the lower your fees. Furthermore, OKEX also offers two different trading fees, based on whether you are a ‘market maker’ or ‘market taker’.
Essentially, if you are a standard trader that takes the market prices available on OKEX, then you are a market ‘taker’. On the other hand, if you provide the platform with liquidity, then you are a market ‘maker’. Market makers get preferential trading fees, as they ensure liquidity levels are sufficient.
Overall, the trading fee system is actually quite complicated at OKEX. Nevertheless, to give you an idea as to how much you are likely to pay, take a look at the following example.
You trade less than 500 BTC per month (approx $250,00 at time of writing)
You are an everyday crypto trader, so you fall within the ‘market taker’ category
As such, you’ll pay 0.15% every time you trade
If you buy $5,000 worth of crypto, you’ll pay $7.50 in fees.
If you sell your crypto at the same value, you’ll pay $7.50 in fees again
Although in the above example $15 in fees might not sound like a lot, however, if you are a day trader performing multiple trades every day, this can really start to add up. Therefore, if you trade frequently and you want to keep your fees down, you’re best off using a platform like Coinbase, as they only charge fees via the spread.
How to sign up and trade on OKEX
Although we would suggest using a user-friendly platform like Coinbase to buy, sell and trade cryptocurrencies, if you want to go ahead and open an account with OKEX, then we’ve listed a detailed step-by-step guide below.
Step 1. Open an account with OKEX
To get started with OKEX, you will first need to head over to the platform’s homepage, and click on ‘SIGN UP’. You will find the button at the top right-hand side of the screen.
Step 2. Choose a password and confirm your email address
On the next page, you will then need to enter your email address and select a strong password. Before you click on the ‘SIGN UP’ button, you will need to confirm your email address.
To do this, click on the ‘GET CODE’ button. This will give you 60 seconds to head over to your email inbox, copy the confirmation code, and paste it into the box.
Step 3. Deposit funds
As soon as you’ve confirmed your email address, your OKEX account is good to use. You’ll notice that you are not asked to provide any personal information at this point. If you want to deposit and withdraw cryptocurrencies only, you don’t need to provide your full name, address or date of birth. However, if you want to deposit with fiat currency, then you’ll need to provide this information, alongside some ID.
Nevertheless, choose whether you are a beginner or an experienced trader. You’ll then be presented with the deposit page. Click on the blue ‘DEPOSIT NOW’ button.
From the drop-down list, select the cryptocurrency that you want to deposit with. In our example, we are choosing to deposit with Ethereum.
Step 4. Transfer funds into your OKEX wallet
Once you’ve chosen the cryptocurrency that you want to deposit with, copy your unique OKEX deposit address. Note, only deposit the cryptocurrency that is linked to the wallet address. For example, if you deposit Ethereum Classic into an Ethereum wallet address, your funds will be lost forever.
Now head over to your personal cryptocurrency wallet, paste the previously copied OKEX wallet address in, enter the amount you want to deposit, and finally, confirm the transaction.
OKEX normally take between 10-20 minutes to credit deposited funds. Keep an eye on your account balance, as this will update automatically once the funds are available to use.
Step 5. Trade cryptocurrencies
Once your OKEX account is funded, click on the ‘SPOT TRADING’ button to access the trading area. On the left-hand side of the screen, enter the trading pair that you want to buy/sell. In our example, we are looking to trade our Ethereum for USDT.
Once you are on the trading screen for your chosen pair, look-out for the trading box (see below screenshot). First, you need to choose whether you want to place a ‘limit order’ or ‘market order’.
You also need to enter the amount that you want to buy/sell. Finally, once you’re happy with the information you’ve entered into the trading box, click on the green BUY button.
Is OKEX regulated?
Although OKEX has announced plans to relocate to Malta, it is yet to make the full transition to the European island. As such, OKEX still operates in a largely unregulated manner. Once the platform does eventually move its headquarters to Malta, it will be bound by the domestic regulatory framework that governs the blockchain asset industry.
Until then, OKEX is not a safe exchange to hold your funds, as they do not hold any regulatory licenses. You are therefore advised to consider a regulated exchange like Coinbase, who holds licenses by the UK’s FCA and CySEC in Cyrpus.
Is OKEX safe?
We believe that the safety of client funds is the most important factor to look for when choosing a new cryptocurrency exchange. Whether you’re interested in short-term investments or long-term investments, you want to know that your money is safe. In this respect, we have identified some clear red-flags with the OKEX platform.
History of hacks: In August 2018, it was reported that more than $3 million worth of crypto was stolen from a user’s OKEX account. It was also reported that other users were affected too, meaning that the hacker was able to gain access to multiple OKEX wallets.
Taking funds from client accounts: In July 2018, a futures contract worth more than $400 million in Bitcoin was liquidated, because OKEX froze the trader’s account. This misjudgment meant that OKEX had to cover the losses. However, instead of covering the losses 100% themselves, they decided to take almost $9 million from user accounts. This targeted accounts that were in profit. How would that make you feel?
Phishing websites: OKEX has been accustomed to multiple phishing attempts, meaning that hackers imitate the OKEX platform. The issue is so serious that OKEX warns users every time they log in (see screenshot below).
OKEX security measures
Nevertheless, here’s a break down of security features available at OKEX.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) when you log in or withdraw funds
Mobile verification codes
Anti-phishing codes contained within emails
Does OKEX have an app?
OKEX now has a dedicated mobile app that can be downloaded across both Android and iOS devices, free of charge. The mobile app operates practically in the same way as the desktop version. As such, the app allows you to buy, sell and trade cryptocurrencies, deposit and withdraw funds, and view account balances.
However, online reviews of the mobile app are really poor. One of the key complaints from OKEX users is that the app is glitchy.
Complaints center on constant freezing, and markets failing to load. Users even highlight the fact that the app doesn’t even contain a stop limit option when trading. This is crucial, as it can be the difference between making a small loss, or a significant one.
If you’re looking to trade cryptocurrencies on the move, without having to put up with ongoing glitches, then we would suggest downloading the Coinbase mobile app.
Does OKEX have a wallet?
Although OKEX does technically have a wallet per-say, it doesn’t offer the same features as you would expect in a private wallet. In fact, storing your funds in the OKEX wallet is really high-risk. The key reason for this is that when you store funds in your OKEX account, you are essentially trusting them to keep your money safe.
This is problematic, as OKEX remains in full control of your private keys. In layman terms, if the exchange was hacked by scammers (like it was last year), then your funds could be at risk. Don’t forget, OKEX was happy to steal money from profitable client accounts last year when it made a serious misjudgment on a large futures contract, so the platform should not be trusted.
Instead, you should keep your funds at a heavily regulated platform like Coinbase.
OKEX customer service
If you run into issues at OKEX and need to contact the team, you’ll be pleased to know that a range of contact methods are on offer. Take a look at the list of contact options below.
Phone support: Phone support is available 24/7, however, the only two toll numbers available are Hong Kong and Canada. This means if you’re calling from another country, the call will be really expensive.
Email support: You can also contact the OKEX support team via email at [email protected]
Social Media: You can access the OKEX team via Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Medium.
OKEX pros and cons
OKEX vs Coinbase
In order to allow you to make an informed decision on whether OKEX is the right cryptocurrency platform for your individual needs, we decided to make a comparison with Coinbase.
Although Coinbase is now one of the most popular exchange platforms in the crypto space, a lot of people think that they are only a CFD broker. While it is true that Coinbase does allow you to trade Forex and buy stocks and shares, commodities and indices in the form of CFDs, you can also buy crypto and actually own the underlying asset. If you want to apply leverage into your crypto trading strategies, or short cryptocurrencies, then you can also do this via Coinbase by investing in CFDs.
Why we recommend Coinbase wallet over OKEX:
- Coinbase has a strong regulatory oversight by both the FCA (UK) and CySEC (Cyprus). This ensures that your funds are kept safe. On the contrary, OKEX operates largely unregulated.
- If you’re trading under 500 BTC per month (approx $250,000 at the time of writing), you will pay an extortionate 0.15% in fees. Coinbase doesn’t charge trading fees, as they make their money from the spread.
- While Coinbase allows you to deposit funds via debit/credit cards, e-wallets and more, the only fiat currency facility available at OKEX is a bank transfer
- OKEX only allows you to trade crypto, while Coinbase lists a full range of traditional asset classes too.
- The OKEX trading area is really difficult to use if you’re not an experienced trader, while Coinbase is super easy for beginners.
In conclusion, OKEX has done really well to grow as big as they have in such a small amount of time. In fact, although the figures fluctuate, OKEX is quite often the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world for daily trading volumes. Moreover, the platform has one of the most extensive lists of supported cryptocurrencies and trading pairs.
However, we are unable to endorse OKEX for a number of key reasons. Firstly, the platform makes it really difficult to deposit funds with real-world cash. Unless you are prepared to wait 3-5 working days by depositing funds via bank transfer, your options are extremely limited. We also found that the trading fees offered by OKEX are really expensive, especially if you are trading less than $250,000 per month (which most of us do anyway).
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we really don’t like the fact that OKEX were happy to steal customer funds to cover their own mistake. Imagine going through the hard work of making trading profits, only to have the exchange take some of your returns?
In comparison, we much prefer the likes of Coinbase. The platform is heavily regulated, super easy to use, they allow U.S. residents to join, multiple fiat payment methods are supported, you can both long and short cryptocurrencies, and fees are really low.
Our Recommended Crypto Exchange
Our Recommended Crypto Exchange
How many coins do OKEX list?
OKEX has one of the most extensive offerings of supported cryptocurrencies in the exchange industry. At the time of writing, more than 130 cryptocurrencies and supported, across over 300 different pairs.
Can you 'short' cryptocurrencies on OKEX?
Alongside the likes of Coinbase, OKEX is one of the few exchanges that allows you to short cryptocurrencies. However, we should note that this feature is only available for a select few coins. At Coinbase, you can short 15 major cryptocurrencies.
How do I contact OKEX via live chat?
OKEX does not have a live chat facility. Instead, you can contact the team via telephone 24/7 (Hong Kong or Canada toll number), or alternatively, by email.
How much are OKEX trading fees?
OKEX has a rather complex pricing structure when it comes to trading fees. In a nutshell, if you are a standard trader (market taker) and trade less than 500 BTC per month, then you'll pay a trading fee of 0.15%, which is considered expensive.
Can I use a debit or credit card at OKEX?
OKEX does not accept debit or credit cards. The only fiat deposit facility available is a bank transfer. If you want o easily buy Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies with a debit/credit card, then you might want to consider Coinbase.