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Where the Chinese Cryptobarons Leave


Chinese exchanges and operators of crypto-currency wallets, disappointed with the opportunity to continue working in their country, are in search of new opportunities and partners in neighboring Asian countries. Many translate their crypto-currency business in whole or in parts. For example, an application for licensing is submitted to Japan, and offices are located in Singapore and South Korea. The largest players who once dominated the world's crypto currency market, are forced to seek refuge in neighboring countries. At least 19 companies have applied for licenses in Japan.

According to the director of work on the financial markets of the OKEx exchange - a former subsidiary, and now the main working site of the Chinese stock exchange OKCoin, Lennix Lai:
"A significant share of the crypto-currency market accounted for China. The demand is there. Our company was one of the largest operators in the China's crypto currency market and therefore we are confident that we have a good chance in the competitive struggle in the world market. "

Trying to make its own way in the new market in Hong Kong, OKEx plans to attract Chinese investors who, after tightening measures in China, postponed trading from exchange sites to messengers, for example in Telegram, where everyone can buy crypto currency from those who have access to international markets. OKEx intends to develop this scheme and create on its basis its own platform for OTC trading in Hong Kong. Thus, OKEx plans to return the Chinese market, as well as attract new users from Russia and the UK.

Zhao Changpeng, CEO of exchange operator Binance.com, says he, too, is looking for local partners and even considering acquiring an operational exchange. Others including Beijing-based Bixin have also expressed interest. Its overseas app is known as Pocket IM, a messaging service that doubles as a bitcoin wallet. The initial reception has been warm.

“We’re talking to almost all of those guys. They’re all desperate now,” said Mike Kayamori, head of Tokyo-based Quoine, which last month won a license to operate a bitcoin exchange in the country. Kayamori expects to sign a deal with a Chinese partner by the end of the year.

“There’s a lot of Chinese retail people reaching out to us, but we can’t handle it. So if a Chinese partner can handle all of those and they connect to us, that will be much easier,” he said.

OKEx is one of those going it alone, and in Hong Kong. It wants to corral Chinese investors who have resorted to peer-to-peer trading over messaging apps like Telegram since the clampdown. Basically, Chinese investors can still buy from individuals who have access to overseas markets.

OKEx wants to scale that by rolling out its own over-the-counter trading platform in Hong Kong. They’re now trying to recruit people to act as third-party market makers who will chaperone deals, make money off a spread and then split the revenue with OKEx. Lai expects to attract customers mostly from China, Russia and the U.K.

Others are exploring Singapore as a backup option, though the island nation has yet to enact specific regulations.

Bitmain, which operates the world’s largest mining collective, said it’s opening a regional headquarters there. Co-founder Wu Jihan said he wants to recruit talent from Southeast Asia, and tap a hub of commerce that serves as research bases for the likes of Nvidia Corp. and Alphabet Inc.

Wherever Chinese operators end up, one thing is clear: As regulatory winds continue to shift, exchanges and other cryptocurrency players need to be nimble enough to swiftly operate and move across various jurisdictions.

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