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OK-Exit: Very Senior OKX Execs Call it Quits

OKX executives Tim Byun and Wei Lan have left the exchange, leaving critics to draw parallels with Binance's staff exodus amid regulator scrutiny

Photo by Wesley Tingey / Unsplash

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OKX executives, who held vital positions at the exchange, have left their posts.

Tim Byun served as CEO of OKX's US arm, OKcoin, between 2018 and 2020. He then was appointed head of global government relations at OKX.

Wei Lan was hired as head of product and ran OKX's trading desk, overseeing transaction activity.

OKcoin's brand was retired at the end of last year as the OKX group moved to consolidate its separate entities into one OKX brand.

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Lan and Byun aren't the first senior executives to leave the firm this year. In January, Global Compliance Chief, Patrick Donegan, left the exchange after a six-month stint.

OKX and the (now former) executives have not commented on the resignation but speculators are drawing parallels to Binance's exodus as the US landed the exchange with sizeable lawsuits.

"It seems similar to the large number of executive departures when Binance came under US investigation," X personality WuBlockchain tweeted.

Ahead of Changpeng Zhao and Binance's $4 billion fine, the exchange saw the following names tender their resignation:

  • Jonathan Farnell - Chief of Binance's UK arm and CEO of its payments subsidiary Bifinity
  • Stéphanie Cabossioras - General Manager of Binance France
  • Vladimir Smerkis - General Manager of the CIS region
  • Gleb Kostarev - Regional President for Eastern Europe, the CIS, Turkey, Australia, and New Zealand
  • Leon Foong - Head of Asia Pacific
  • Patrick Hillman - Chief Strategy Officer
  • Han Ng - General Counsel
  • Brian Shroder - Binance.US CEO
  • Mayur Kamat - Binance's global head of product

However, unlike Binance, OKX has retained a better relationship with regulators.

Last month, OKX was granted an in-principle approval (IPA) for a Major Payment Institution (MPI) licence in Singapore.

Its new status allows the firm to provide digital payment tokens and cross-border money transfer services in Singapore.

OKX Wins In-Principle Approval For MPI License From Singapore Regulator
OKX’s in-principle approval (IPA) for a major payment institution (MPI) licence allows it to provide digital payment tokens and cross-border money transfer services in Singapore.

That said, South Korean regulators took aim at OKX in February for unlawfully promoting Jumpstart via Telegram. According to local media, the cryptocurrency exchange is under the regulatory scrutiny of the South Korean Digital Asset Exchange Association (DAXA) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

The regulators accuse OKX of facilitating unlawful service promotions of its centralized exchange platform, Jumpstart, to South Korean investors via Telegram influencers.

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OKX also terminated its services in India after the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Indian Ministry of Finance issued compliance notices to nine foreign crypto exchanges including Binance and Kraken. However, OKX was not on the list.

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