Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi is taking purpose at competitor OKEx in China, particularly the enterprise of buying and selling bitcoin futures and different derivatives contracts. The combat opens a brand new entrance in a longstanding rivalry.
OKEx, which is led by Chinese language executives and based mostly in Malta, is the world’s greatest crypto derivatives exchange, with excellent contracts valued at $1.26 billion, in response to the information web site CoinGecko. Huobi, additionally led by Chinese language brass however based mostly in Singapore, is shut behind, tied for second place with one other exchange, BitMEX, at $1.25 billion.
In a report this month, Huobi mentioned it has “managed to push new boundaries against other well-established exchanges when it comes to futures trading volume.” Huobi is already beating OKEx in just a few market segments, in response to the report, together with “coin-margined futures” – the place merchants can submit their preliminary down fee, often known as margin, utilizing cryptocurrencies. Huobi claims to additionally frequently beat OKEx in weekly and quarterly bitcoin futures contracts.
“Before Huobi launched its futures contract in December 2018, OKEx had the largest market share of the world,” Ciara Solar, vp of Huobi World Markets, informed Fintech Zoom in a Telegram message. “Huobi Futures always looks up to the best of the market.”
The battle for supremacy in cryptocurrency futures – and China – provides to the stress between the 2 exchanges, which have been at loggerheads at the very least since 2018, when then-OKEx CEO Chris Lee defected to Huobi to turn out to be vp of world enterprise growth.
OKEx CEO Jay Hao, in an organization replace in March, known as Huobi “our doppelgänger,” insisted “imitation was the sincerest form of flattery” and mentioned he “would like to think that Huobi was able to withstand this market volatility by following our footsteps.”
Final week, Hao informed Fintech Zoom in a Telegram chat: “At OKEx, we seldom judge or compare our performance with our peers” as a result of the competitors just isn’t simply “defined simply with data or certain metrics.”
Chinese language crypto markets are huge, profitable and up for grabs
Specialists on China’s often-murky cryptocurrency markets say the rivalry between the 2 exchanges probably stems from the combat for purchasers on the planet’s second-largest financial system.
“There’s a natural friction between OKEx and Huobi,” Matthew Graham, chief govt officer of Beijing-based crypto consultancy Sino World Capital, informed Fintech Zoom in an electronic mail. “While they have both pushed to enlarge their international footprints, they still prioritize their Chinese user base.”
China has been pushing to turn out to be a world chief in blockchain, in what some observers say may turn out to be a hotspot in an rising chilly battle between the nation and the U.S. for technological supremacy. Chinese language banks are already testing a digital model of its nationwide foreign money, the yuan, whereas American officers have mentioned they’re merely learning a digital greenback.
Learn extra: Extra Than 95% of Crypto Futures Quantity Is in Asia: Report
Underneath the present guidelines, Chinese language exchanges can’t technically promote cryptocurrencies for yuan, and there was a crackdown from authorities. However many residents within the nation purchase bitcoin (BTC) or dollar-linked stablecoins like tether (USDT) from over-the-counter brokers, then use these tokens for buying and selling, in response to an Aug. 20 report from Chainalysis. The report known as the East Asia area the world’s greatest cryptocurrency market, accounting for 31% of all transactions previously 12 months.
“By using tether as a fiat stand-in instead of, say, bitcoin, traders can lock in gains without off-ramping into fiat by simply converting other currencies into tether and leaving the tether in their wallet or exchange account,” Chainalysis wrote.
Based on Graham, the friction between the 2 exchanges has solely intensified as they combat to acquire a extra favored place with the Chinese language authorities.
On that rely, Huobi may be one transfer forward of OKEx: The Chinese language department of Huobi has joined the Blockchain-Based mostly Service Community (BSN) Improvement Alliance, which goals to be probably the most influential infrastructure companies suppliers within the nation.
“Is there room for two crypto-focused exchanges at the table?” Graham mentioned. “We aren’t certain. But if there’s only one position, that position is highly coveted by both OKEx and Huobi.”
Formally, Huobi doesn’t even acknowledge the Chinese language cryptocurrency market exists: “There is not a market in China. That is not legal,” Solar mentioned.
Based on the web site tracker, Huobi seems to be getting almost a 3rd of its web site site visitors from Chinese language guests, versus 14% for OKEx.
“We don’t know the exact trading volume being done in China, unfortunately, but we can see bitcoin flow changes when the Chinese government announces something,” says Ki Younger Ju, CEO of the Korean blockchain knowledge tracker CryptQuant.
The regional turf battle between Huobi and OKEx now serves as a backdrop of their competitors for extra futures-trading enterprise.
“Huobi has managed to push new boundaries against other well-established exchanges when it comes to futures trading volume,” in response to the corporate’s Aug. 14 report.
The exchange says it’s additionally beating OKEx on “market depth,” a gauge of what number of purchase and promote orders are ready at any given price level.
Tom Wang, chief working officer of Huobi Futures, informed Fintech Zoom the corporate’s newly launched perpetual-swap product, which capabilities just like futures however with out expiry dates, additionally contributed to the second-quarter progress.
“Huobi’s perpetual swap’s 24-hour trading volume was at $5.37 billion, surpassing BitMEX’s $5.22 billion on May 12, 2020,” he mentioned. “On this particular product, OKEx remains less competitive to us.”
Clients are seeing at the very least one profit from the feud: extra selections. Huobi introduced in July it should launch bitcoin possibility buying and selling within the third quarter, whereas OKEx mentioned across the identical time it has added three extra expiration dates – day by day, two-day and month-to-month – to its options-trading suite.
“We appreciate a healthy competition,” Lennix Lai, director of monetary markets at OKEx, informed Fintech Zoom.
Dovey Wan, a companion at crypto asset funding fund Primitive Ventures, informed Fintech Zoom in a Twitter direct message the squabble reminds her of the best way Chinese language tech giants vie for dominance within the home market.
“It’s like Alibaba and Tencent never fight Google and Facebook,” mentioned Wan, who additionally serves as a member of Fintech Zoom’s advisory board. “But they fight bitterly in China.”