Former OKEx CEO Chris Lee Joins Rival Crypto Exchange Huobi

Francisco Memoria
  • Merely one week after resigning as OKEx's chief executive officer, Chris Lee revealed he's joining Huobi, a rival cryptocurrency exchange.
  • The move is notable as both exchanges are competing for the number one spot, and for dominance in Asian markets.

Chris Lee, former chief executive officer at cryptocurrency exchange OKEx, has recently joined rival exchange Huobi, according to a press release. Notably, the move comes merely one week after Lee resigned from OKEx to take a short break to spend time with his family.

The press release states that Lee is now going to help spearhead Singapore-based Huobi’s international strategy, as its new vice president of global business development. Lee himself confirmed the news on Twitter, where he claimed he sees Huobi become the largest cryptocurrency exchange.

Lee reportedly left OKEx after growing tired of clashing with the company’s founder, Xu Mingxing. According to a statement he published on WeChat, Mingxing “is a tech guy and lacks communication skills.”

He got his position at OKEx after the company’s former chief executive, Star Xu, stepped down in February. In a public note on WeChat, he suggested the company hasn’t been able to keep senior executives.

"For my former employer, I have done all I could ... The first generation of OKCoin's international and management teams have left. How many of the second generation are still there? And how many CTOs have left in the last three to four years?"

Chris Lee

The now-former OKEx CEO resigned little after Chinese national media started claiming the company has been illegally trading bitcoin futures contracts in the country. Their accusations even stated OKEx had only moved its headquarters to Hong Kong on paper, and is registering in Belize to dodge regulations.

Looking forward, Lee is seemingly bullish. Referring to Huobi, he stated:

"For my former employer, I have done all I could ... The first generation of OKCoin's international and management teams have left. How many of the second generation are still there? And how many CTOs have left in the last three to four years?"

Chris Lee

 Huobi itself has recently been embroiled in controversy, as various Chinese traders complained several cryptocurrencies, including ONT and NEO, plummeted on the platform, liquidating their positions.

Lee’s move is notable, as both exchanges are rivals competing for a larger share of the Asian market. At press time, OKEx is currently the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange with a 24-hour trading volume of over $1.7 billion. Huobi ranks third with a trading volume of little over $1 billion.

Malaysian Crypto-Powered City to Attract 3 Million Tourists

Malacca City, the capital of the Malaysian state of Malacca, has reportedly become one of the world’s first regions that’s being referred to as a “crypto city.” Notably, Malacca City is expected to attract approximately 3 million tourists per year. This, according to recent report from, which revealed that visitors will be able to exchange fiat currencies for digital currencies “upon arrival.”

“Revolutionizing Economies With Crypto”

Alternatively, tourists visiting Malacca City will be able to use their own “virtual funds.” However, all cryptocurrencies “must be traded into the city’s virtual asset” which is referred to as the “DMI Coin.” According to the report, tourists have the option of using various applications to pay for goods and services within Malacca City.

Interestingly, the Chinese government is reportedly backing the development of the town, in order to “make it a blockchain tourist capital.” Currently, it seems that Malacca City’s crypto project is in its initial stages of development.

It may be considered just a proof of concept (PoC) at this point which involves experimenting with “crypto as a workable monetary system or it could be a decentralized tourism gimmick [and only] time will tell,” noted.

Norwegian Town Also Experimenting With Crypto

As mentioned in’s video, Malacca City is “not the only city betting on crypto to revolutionize its economy.”

For example, Liberstad, a Norwegian town, has started to develop its own “virtual asset ecosystem.” Liberstad’s community reportedly uses a crypto called “City Coin” to pay for everyday purchases within the city.

Dubai To Use Blockchain For 50% Of Transactions By 2021

The Middle Eastern city of Dubai, which is considered to be United Arab Emirates’ business hub, has also been planning to adopt crypto and distributed ledger technology (DLT) on a large scale.

In May 2018, Dubai’s government announced that it would use blockchain technology for approximately 50% of its transactions by 2021. As confirmed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (at that time), the vice president and prime minister of the UAE, Dubai’s wide-scale adoption of blockchain tech is part of its ongoing technological modernization project called “Smart Dubai.”