Lennix Lai, OKX’s global chief commercial officer, told Cointelegraph that bringing traditional finance investors into the space would require raising compliance standards.
While some areas of the crypto space focus on privacy and anonymity, others focus on raising the standards within the space and on bringing in traditional players and more capital in the world of digital assets.
At the recent Blockchain Economy Summit held in Dubai, Cointelegraph spoke with Lennix Lai, the global chief commercial officer at crypto exchange OKX. During the interview, the executive discussed several topics, including the differences between working in traditional finance and crypto, how OKX handled the wave of exchanges implementing mandatory Know Your Customer (KYC) checks and how the exchange navigates the rapidly changing regulatory landscape.
Lai and Cointelegraph’s Ezra Reguerra at the Blockchain Economy Summit in Dubai. Source: Joanna Alhambra
According to Lai, crypto is “a lot more fun” than traditional finance. Lai, who previously worked in traditional firms, said there are many processes in the old finance world that he believes are inefficient. He explained:
“It’s relatively difficult to innovate in traditional finance. In crypto, it’s a lot better and more efficient. And in terms of cost, it is a lot more cheap. So, you can see the pace is a lot faster, and we can serve an even bigger audience than traditional finance right now.”
When problems arose, the executive said that there was lots of internal and external friction before being able to fix problems in traditional finance, even when the solutions were obvious. Furthermore, Lai said there are also regulatory aspects to consider before coming up with solutions.
When it comes to crypto, Lai told Cointelegraph that regulators share almost the same guidelines and expectations as they share the goal of protecting the consumer. The executive said that navigating different regulations from various jurisdictions across the world requires extensive research and mapping out the different requirements.
Lai delivering his keynote speech at the Blockchain Economy Summit Dubai event. Source: Cointelegraph
“Different level of requirement, different level of regulation. But I think all the regulators share similar guidelines and expectations. For example, they want to protect the customer, they want to monitor the trade, they want customer segregation,” he said.
When asked about OKX following the trend of bringing mandatory KYC to its exchange, Lai said there is a need to “raise the bar” in crypto, similar to traditional finance. According to the executive, this will bring what he described as “the real capital and the main money” to the space. He explained:
“That’s how we grow the real market, because if ever your compliance standard cannot meet or somehow talking in the same language with traditional finance, they can never, despite of their interest, despite of our innovation, invest or bring in capital to the space.”
According to Lai, KYC is the first level and the first step to trying to raise the compliance standard in the space so that it can welcome other players in the world of finance.