Chris Lee Steps Down as CEO of World’s Biggest Crypto Exchange OKEx

Chris Lee Steps Down as CEO of World’s Biggest Crypto Exchange OKEx

The Chief Executive Officer of the Hong-Kong based OKEx exchange has resigned just on the heels of the exchange becoming the world’s largest by daily volume, reportedly overtaking Binance. Lee’s reason for the exit? To “start a new life.”

Also see: Central Banks May Go Crypto, Per Morgan Stanley. But Can They Survive?

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Get Out While the Getting’s Good?

Lee’s departure will certainly be felt by OKEx, as his network and experience in the banking and investment sector could seemingly have pushed the exchange even further. The now-former CEO was previously deemed the best financial executive in Hong Kong by AsiaMoney.  


Referring to Lee’s time at OKEx, his spokeswoman stated that it’s been the “greatest pleasure and an honor” to work at the exchange, as reported on Bloomberg. She also highlighted that Lee’s return to the blockchain community is certain after a brief break to spend time with family.  As for now, it’s unknown where, when, or how Lee will make a re-entrance. 

According to CoinMarketCap, OKEx is now approximately managing trade volume of over $2 billion USD in 24 hours, accounting for almost 10 percent of global crypto trading.

The resignation comes at an already busy time for OKEx, as last month the exchange revealed its plan to expand its operations to the Mediterranean island country Malta

Personal Network Is Key for Exchange Heads

While the Hong Kong-based exchange could lose the advantages of the personal network of Lee, Japan-based crypto exchange bitFlyer is gunning to pocket the talent of CEO Yuzo Kano’s extensive network. 

Kano, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. alumnus, leveraged his past network to lure institutional traders to join bitFlyer and is now actively attracting other experienced mainstream employees in a bid to expand internationally and tackle the growing pains of regulation head-on. 

Kano aims to extend its business beyond mere crypto trading and launch brokerage-advisory services.

“My target is to be number one in the world. To get there, I need to grow headcount. And those with the best skills come from global banks,” said Kano. 

With the crypto space still in its emerging stages,  competition is at its peak. At the time when the crypto sector is in a shortfall of employees, Chris Lee’s departure will be a tangible short-term loss. But it’s nothing that a heavyweight exchange like OKEx shouldn’t be able to handle after attracting new executive talent. 

Are crypto jobs more lucrative than institutional jobs? Share your views in the comments section.

Images via Twitter, The Huffington Post

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