Exchanges / OKEx

OKEx Exchange Review

OKEx does not accept users from United States but we have found 8 exchanges that do.

Quick Summary

  • wide variety of coins,
  • support for most countries,
  • easy to use interface,
  • low trading fees, and
  • good customer service.
  • few options for fiat to crypto transactions
  • no fiat withdrawal options in most countrie
  • not available in the U.S.

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Overview and Reputation

OKEx is one of the most well-respected cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. It has over 20 million customers in more than 100 countries. More than 5.8 million site visits have been logged to OKEx.com, and the company employs over 1,000 people.

OKEx headquarters is located in Valetta, Malta.

Our Rating: 7/10
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Trading Fees

For crypto-to-crypto trades, OKEx charges a variable fee per trade based on the user’s 30-day volume. A new user with no volume recorded will pay 0.15% per trade for market orders.

This fee is taken out of the currency purchased. For example, if you buy $1,000 worth of BTC/USDT, you will only receive $998.5 worth of BTC. If you sell $1,000 worth of BTC/USDT, you will only receive $998.5 worth of USDT.

To test this system out, we sold $10.12 worth of ETH for 10.12 USDT. The order was partially filled by 2 different buyers, leading to two separate results on the order page. In total, we were charged approx. 1.5 cents in fees.

After 30 days, the exchange’s software will reevaluate your fee level based on your volume. You can also get further discounts by placing limit orders.

LevelVolume (in BTC)Market order feeLimit order fee
NormalLess than 1,0000.15%0.1%
VIP11,000 - 4,9990.08%0.06%
VIP25,000 - 9,9990.075%0.04%
VIP310,000-19,9990.07%0.02%
VIP420,000 - 49,9990.06%No fee
VIP550,000 - 99,9990.05%-0.002%
VIP6100,000 - 149,9990.04%-0.005%
VIP7150,000+0.03%-0.01%

OKB token

OKEx also offers a utility token called OKB. This token allows normal level users to save on fees without needing to do higher volume.

This means OKB holders with less than 1,000 BTC volume can still get discounts.

Here are the OKB holdings required for each normal level, along with the fee charged for each level and order type.

Normal levelAmount of OKB heldMarket order feeLimit order fee
1Less than 5000.15%0.1%
2500 - 9990.135%0.09%
31,000 - 1,4990.12%0.08%
41,500 - 1,9990.105%0.07%
52,000+0.09%0.06%

Crypto to fiat conversions

There is currently no way to convert crypto to fiat using OKEx. The only way to “cash out” is to withdraw crypto and sell it on another exchange.

Our Rating: 8/10
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Available Coins

OKEx carries a wide variety of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), OMG Network (OMG), NEO, and more. There are more than 400 coins total available on the exchange.

OKEx does over $500 million of trades between BTC and USDT and over $152 million of ETH/USDT trades per day.

OKEX does not maintain a public list of coins available with volumes. But the list can be seen from within the interface.

Bitcoin
Ethereum
Ripple
Bitcoin Cash
Cardano
Litecoin
Chainlink
EOS
Tezos
Stellar
Monero
Tron
Cosmos
Neo
Ethereum Classic
IOTA
Dash
ZCash
Dogecoin
Basic Attention Token
Digibyte
0x
+ 58 more
Our Rating: 9/10
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Permitted Countries

[OKEx countries]

OKEx is officially available in over 100 countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, France, Ukraine, Russia, Singapore, and many others.

USA residents are not permitted however

United Kingdom
Australia
New Zealand
Canada
Ireland
India
South Africa
France
Germany
Italy
Sweden
Denmark
Switzerland
Netherlands
Spain
Belgium
Singapore
China
South Korea
Pakistan
Poland
Portugal
+ 43 more

Countries not supported

OKEx does not require verification for small crypto deposits or withdrawals. So technically, it is available in any country.

However, there are certain countries (including USA, Hong Kong, Malaysia) that it lists as not supported. If you live in one of these countries, you may still be able to purchase small amounts of crypto on the exchange and withdraw it using a VPN. However, you will not be able to obtain Level 1 verification so that greater amounts can be withdrawn.

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Deposit Methods

OKEx doesn’t offer much in the way of deposit options. It’s a straight “altcoin exchange.” Users who want to buy crypto with fiat have only two options: pay high fees for debit card purchases or buy crypto from another exchange.

Still, the depositing process for crypto is fairly straightforward. The minimums are small enough that most regular crypto users will have no trouble making deposits. And there are no deposit fees for transfers of crypto into the exchange.

Deposits to OKEx can only be made through cryptocurrency or a debit card.

There is no deposit fee for transferring crypto into the exchange, but there are minimum deposit amounts for each currency.

For example, the minimum deposit amount for Bitcoin is 0.00005 BTC. For USDT and ETH, the minimum deposit is 0.01. For BCH, there is no minimum.

Depositing using a debit card

If you don’t own any crypto, you can still deposit to OKEx through a partner company. In this case, you buy crypto from the partner and have it transferred into the exchange on your behalf.

These purchases can only be made through a debit card.

OKEx lists several brokers that it uses for these transactions, including Paxful, Koinal, Xanpool, and Simplex. Depending on which third-party broker you choose, the fee will vary.

We attempted to buy 1,000 USDT using Mastercard and were offered an exchange rate of $1.06 per USDT. This would have meant getting charged a fee of 6%.

This is a higher fee than OKEx’s competitors. We tried again the following day and got a price of $1.05 per USDT from Banxa for $10 worth. This is still comparatively high, but at least it does appear that the fee declines for smaller purchases.

Our Rating: 5/10
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Withdrawals

Withdrawing crypto from OKEx is quick and painless. But there are few options for users that want to withdraw fiat.

In most countries, only cryptocurrency withdrawals are available from OKEx. Residents of EU countries have the additional option of selling BTC for Euros via SEPA.

Crypto withdrawals

OKEx doesn’t charge a withdrawal fee for crypto withdrawals. However, you can choose how much of a transaction fee you would like to pay to the miners when you initiate a withdrawal.

This works just like it does with a personal wallet. If you pay more, your withdrawal is more likely to be processed immediately.

There are also minimum withdrawal amounts. These are usually 0.01 coins of whatever type you are withdrawing. For especially high priced coins, the minimum may be 0.001. For example, the minimum for BTC is 0.001, while for ETH it is 0.01.

Your maximum withdrawal amount depends upon your verification level. We’ll discuss verification levels and limits in the following section.

SEPA withdrawals

Residents of EU countries can sell BTC for fiat and immediately transfer to a bank. The minimum withdrawal is €10, and each SEPA withdrawal incurs a fee of €0.15.

Our Rating: 5/10
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Verification

OKEx has 4 verification levels

Level 0

Unverified or “Level 0” users have only provided an email address and password to the exchange. According to official statements, these users cannot deposit or withdraw crypto at all.

However, we have tested out this statement by depositing $6 worth of Ethereum on an unverified account. We had no trouble withdrawing.

Still, anecdotal evidence on forums suggests that there is a fairly low limit for withdrawals on unverified accounts. Unless you are depositing a very small amount, you’ll want to get at least Level 1 verification.

Level 1

Level 1 verification requires you to fill out a form that states your name, nationality, and passport ID number. Once approved, you can withdraw up to 0.5 BTC worth of crypto per day.

Level 2

You can reach level 2 verification by providing photos of your ID card. Level 2 verified users can withdraw up to 100 BTC worth of crypto every 24 hours.

Level 3

Level 3 verification requires you to record a video using the OKEx mobile app.

OKEx has not made an official statement as to what the benefits of level 3 are. However, some reports suggest that single transactions are capped at $20,000 for users below level 3. According to these reports, this cap is raised to $500,000 at level 3.

OKEx verification levels table

Here is a table summarizing the levels and limits at OKEx.

LevelRequirementsWithdrawal limit
0Email and passwordUnknown
1Name, nationality, ID number0.5 BTC per day
2Pictures of photo ID100 BTC per day
3Video recorded with OKEx app100 BTC per day
Our Rating: 7/10
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Security

With any crypto exchange, security is of paramount importance. Here are the steps OKEx takes to protect user’s assets.

User accounts

User accounts on OKEx are protected by two factor authentication. Users must enable 2FA before withdrawing on a new device. Google Authenticator or SMS can be used for 2FA.

In addition, users can turn on the following optional security features from within the interface:

Anti-phishing code

If this feature is turned on, OKEx will include an anti-phishing code in every email it sends to you. This will allow you to confirm whether the email is authentically from OKEx.

Mandatory 2FA

If this option is turned on, you will be required to confirm 2FA every time you log into the account or withdraw from any device, regardless of whether you have used the device to log in previously.

Cold wallets

As with most crypto exchanges, OKEx stores the vast majority of users’ assets in cold wallets, on devices that have no Internet connection. Only approx. 2% of the exchange’s crypto is held in wallets connected to the Internet. This ensures that most of users’ deposits are kept safe, while still allowing enough crypto for withdrawals.

Here is how OKEx keeps its cold wallets with large quantities of crypto secure.

Private key generation

Private keys for cold wallets are generated on an offline computer. This is done 10,000 keys at a time. Once the keys are generated, they are encrypted using AES.

The original (unencrypted) keys are then deleted, leaving only the encrypted copies remaining. This means that only the holders of the AES master password can get access to these keys.

The AES passwords are held by two individuals: one in a U.S. West Coast city, the other in Beijing. The two password holders are not allowed to use the same means of transportation at the same time.

The encrypted private keys are converted into QR codes, printed, and stored in secure bank vaults. There are two copies for every key. One copy is held in Beijing, the other in a U.S. West Coast city.

Only one employee has access to each copy, and these employees cannot be the same ones who hold the AES password.

Cold wallet deposits

When the company needs to secure a large amount of cryptocurrency for users, it retrieves an address from an offline computer. Deposits of more than 1,000 BTC are broken up into smaller transactions and each sent to different addresses. There is never more than 1,000 BTC deposited in one transaction.

Once an address has been deposited to, it can never be deposited to again. Instead, a new address must be generated for each deposit made.

Cold wallet withdrawals

When the company needs to withdraw crypto for users, the employee who has access to the vault travels there and retrieves the QR code with the encrypted private key. This QR code is then scanned into an offline computer.

Next, the employee who has access to the AES password uses this computer to decrypt the private key. This decrypted private key is converted into a QR code, printed, and then scanned into a completely different offline computer.

Finally, the withdrawal transaction is signed on the new computer using the decrypted private key. Once this is done, the transaction message is transferred to an online computer using a USB drive. From there, it is broadcast to the network.

Once a withdrawal is made from a particular address, that address is never used again.

In this way, the vast majority of crypto held by OKEx is kept safe from attack.

OKEx hack?

We have searched for information about an OKEx hack. This is what we have discovered.

Cointelegraph report

On October 2, 2017, Alex Gao of Cointelegraph reported that OKEx had been hacked in August of that year. According to the report, the hacker had logged into a user’s account, entered limit orders for Ethereum Classic, then cancelled the orders.

Over $750 worth of BTC were lost in this attack. Other users had suffered similar attacks, with losses totalling $3 million.

According to the report, OKEx announced that the hacks had nothing to do with the OKEx platform and that victims should call the police.

Gao claimed that the victims of the hack were Chinese residents - and that since cryptocurrency exchanges were banned in China, the victims could not seek redress from law enforcement.

Further reports from Cointelegraph clarified OKEx’s position on the alleged hacks. According to these reports, OKEx claimed that hackers had been unable to withdraw Bitcoin. The attempted withdrawals were stopped by OKEx’s security system.

However, because the attackers had placed erratic losing trades, this had resulted in some losses to user accounts.

At the time of this attack, 2FA was optional on OKEx, and these particular users had not turned on the 2FA feature. Today, users cannot withdraw at all until they turn on some form of 2 factor authentication.

DDoS attacks

In February, 2020, OKEx was hit by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that caused it to be shut down. Some users were unable to enter or cancel trades during this time. However, the method of attack was quickly discovered and defeated, and the exchange was shut down for less than a day.

Our Rating: 9/10
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User Interface

No one wants to use a crypto exchange that is complicated or difficult to use. So you may want to know how OKEx’s user interface fares when compared to competitors.

We tested this interface by registering, placing a small deposit, making a trade, and withdrawing. Here is what we discovered.

Registering

To register, the user simply needs to click sign up from the main menu, enter an email address and password, and verify email by entering a 6 digit code. We found the registration process very easy to navigate.

Depositing

To deposit, the user hovers his mouse over the asset menu in the upper-right, and selects deposits. This opens a menu where the user can select the coin he wishes to deposit.

Once the coin is selected, a QR code and address appears. This page also lists the number of confirmations needed for the deposit to be accepted for trade and the number needed before the deposit can be withdrawn.

In addition, deposit history is shown at the very bottom of this page.

Once the user has deposited crypto into the exchange, it resides in his “funding account.” This account is kept separate from the trading account in case the user wants to hold certain assets long-term.

Transferring to the trader account

When the user wants to move crypto from his funding account to his trader account, he clicks assets → my assets and selects the menu button to the right of the coin he has deposited.

This opens a drop-down menu with the option to deposit, withdraw, or transfer. Clicking transfer brings up an interface that will allow coins to be moved from the funding account to the trading account.

Making a trade

There are two interfaces that can be used to make a trade on OKEx: basic and advanced.

The basic interface has a white background, list of pairs on the left-hand side, order history at the bottom, and order interface just to the right of the chart.

The advanced interface has a black background to reduce eyestrain, large chart with candlesticks in the center, and extensive liquidity information on the right side of the screen. The advanced interface is intended for serious traders who may want to use indicators and the DOM to evaluate potential trades.

These interfaces can be opened by mousing over trade and clicking spot → basic or spot → advanced.

To place a market order using either interface, a user simply needs to click order type → market, enter the amount of coins to buy or sell, and click buy or sell.

We found the trading interface to be simple and straightforward.

Withdrawing

Withdrawing can be done by hovering over assets in the upper-right and selecting withdraw. This opens a coin selection drop-down list.

Once you select a coin, you can enter an address, withdrawal amount, and fee to complete the withdrawal.

If you’ve never withdrawn from this device before, you’ll be prompted for a 2FA code. If you have Mandatory 2FA turned on, you’ll be prompted for a code no matter what.

We tried this system out by attempting to withdraw a few dollars worth of ETH. We found the process to be quick and painless.

Our Rating: 8/10
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Customer Support

OKEx provides excellent customer service options when compared with its competitors. Most cryptocurrency exchanges only provide email support. And the ones that do provide phone support generally only do so for users that report a compromised account.

So the fact that OKEx offers both chat and phone support is surprising.

Email support

Assuming that your problem is not an emergency, the easiest way to contact customer support is through an email ticket. The staff should get back to you within 1 business day using this process.

Chat support

Alternatively, you can use chat support to get a faster response. From any page on the website, scroll down all the way to the footer. On the right, you should see the words chat support. Click these to open a dialogue box that will connect you with a customer service chat representative.

You may end up on hold for a few minutes. So if you don’t have time to deal with the issue right now, email is a better option.

OKEx customer service phone number

If your problem is a serious emergency, you’ll need to talk to a live person on the phone. Here is the OKEx customer support phone number.

+1 226 7984487

This office is located in Canada.

Trustpilot reviews

OKEx has a 2.4 rating on Trustpilot.

Negative reviews

Here are a few quotes from negative Trustpilot reviews:

  • “In verification process they ask a lot of documents, but they never give KYC2 status. Support staff is NOT serious.” ---digital
  • “Scam exchange. Their derivatives are designed to ensure you lose money. Your profits will be little but losses will be huge.” ---John N.
  • “I don't understand the intent to allow deposits w/o verification but require full verification for withdrawals. I am not allowed to withdraw my funds even though it is a relatively small amount ($100).” ---Bodie Robins

Positive reviews

Here are some quotes from satisfied users reviewing on Trustpilot.

  • “Excellent exchange best I've used in years of trading. So many developments this will be top” ---William Smith
  • “Nice place for trading. Have never had any problems.” ---Alex W.
  • “good support. i'm enjoyed trading here” ---share share
Our Rating: 9/10
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Other Features

Margin trading

Users that want increased risk and returns can trade on margin. Any cryptocurrency carried by the exchange can be borrowed and sold short, as long as the user has enough capital in his account to serve as collateral.

The interest rate for these loans is determined every 24 hours based on demand for loans and supply of collateral.

Futures

For users that are interested, OKEx offers futures contracts denominated in major cryptocurrency pairs such as BTC/USD, ETH/USD, and EOS/USD.

These contracts are usually available with settlement dates one day, one week, one month, or four months away from the date they are entered into.

These contracts can be traded with up to 100x leverage.

Perpetual swaps

OKEx also offers a unique product called a perpetual swap. This is essentially a futures contract with no settlement date. This allows a user to take a long term futures position without having to “roll over” the contract.

Perpetual swaps can be traded with up to 100x leverage, just like regular futures.

Options

OKEx is one of the few cryptocurrency exchanges that offers options trading. Users can buy or sell call or put options on major cryptocurrency pairs.

This system can be used to hedge complicated crypto positions in the market, gain income from other users who want to hedge, or simply to gain a leveraged crypto position.

Paper trading

Some users may want to practice trading without the stress of having to risk real crypto. This may be especially helpful for users that plan to eventually trade crypto futures or options.

For these users, OKEx allows a paper trading system with fake crypto gains and losses. Once a user feels satisfied that he has gained the experience he needs, he can abandon the paper account and start trading real crypto immediately.

Customer to customer (C2C) loans

Some customers may want to use their crypto to secure a loan that they can withdraw from the platform entirely. This is where customer to customer (C2C) loans come in.

OKEx’s C2C lending feature allows users to post one type of coin as collateral and use it to borrow a different coin from other OKEx users.

The borrower is required to have collateral equal to more than what he has borrowed. If he defaults, part of his collateral will be liquidated to pay back the loan.

These loans can be withdrawn and sold for cash, then spent on living expenses, business projects, or whatever the borrower needs them for.

C2C loans can only be obtained via the OKEx mobile app and only by verified users.

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Mobile App

The OKEx mobile app is a trusted and handy tool for any trader. It gives plenty of information, and most functions of the website can be performed easily on the mobile app.

However, the lack of withdrawal support is a serious concern. Some traders may find that they need to withdraw crypto while out running errands. The OKEX mobile app will not allow them to do this.

We downloaded the OKEx mobile app and tried it out. Here is our report on how it works and what we think of it.

Main menu

When you first install the OKEx app, it opens to a main menu with five tabs: OKEx (homepage), Market, C2C, Spot, and Derivatives.

You can log in by clicking a button in the upper-right of the screen.

The homepage shows the prices of seven cryptocurrencies: BTC, EOS, LTC, ETH, ETC, BCH, and OKB.

The market tab provides a more extensive list of markets and currency pairs, with prices for each market listed on a separate subpage. There is also a global button on this tab which shows prices on other exchanges - in case users want to try to arbitrage.

The C2C tab lists offers for loans from other OKEx users.

The spot tab allows you to make crypto-to-crypto trades, and pressing derivatives allows you to trade futures, options, and perpetual swaps.

Depositing

Once you’ve logged in, you can make a deposit by first clicking OKEx to get to the home screen. At the top of this screen are four options: wallet, pool, transfer, and deposit.

Press deposit to open the deposit page. Select your coin. You’ll get a QR code you can use to make a deposit.

Trading

To trade, click spot from the main menu. This opens an order form that looks very similar to the web version. From here, you can place a trade just as you would with the web app.

Withdrawing

In our testing, we did not find a way to withdraw using the mobile app. It appears that this feature is not available.

Mobile app reputation

The OKEx app has a 5 out of 5 stars rating on both the Google Play and iOS App Stores. Reviewers rave about the amount of information they get from the app and how easy it is to use.

There are currently no negative reviews of the app on either store.

Our Rating: 7/10
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Conclusion

OKEx offers many advantages to crypto traders. It offers a wide variety of coins, support for most countries, easy to use interface, low trading fees, and great customer service.

On the other hand, OKEx provides few options for fiat to crypto transactions and no fiat withdrawal options in most countries. It also isn’t available in the U.S.

Beginners who want to use cash to buy and hold major cryptos may not be satisfied with OKEx. U.S. users will also probably want to stay away from this exchange.

But most altcoin traders will find OKEx to be an excellent exchange. It has all of the coins most traders want access to, reasonable fees, and phone support if you need it.

OKEx Rating Summary
Overview and Reputation
7/10
Trading Fees
8/10
Available Coins
9/10
Deposit Methods
5/10
Withdrawals
5/10
Verification
7/10
Security
9/10
User Interface
8/10
Customer Support
9/10
Mobile App
7/10
TOTAL
7.4/10
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FAQ

Is OKEx Chinese?

OKEx was originally headquartered in Hong Kong. But as Malta started encouraging blockchain companies to move to its shores, OKEx decided to “join the club,” so to speak, by moving to Malta with everyone else. So OKEx is no longer based in China.

Is OKEx available in USA?

Officially, no. U.S. residents cannot obtain identity verification on OKEx. Small deposits and withdrawals can be made with a VPN, but that’s it.

Can you short on OKEx?

There are many different ways to short crypto on OKEx. You can sell futures, buy puts, or even borrow crypto and sell it. So, yes, you can short on OKEx.

Is OKEx.com legit?

Yes. OKEx is the second largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Over 20 million customers have used it to trade crypto. It’s definitely legit.

What is OKB?

OKB is the utility token for OKEx cryptocurrency exchange. Holders of OKB get discounts on exchange fees without needing to post a high volume of trades.

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