Angelina Kwan, former managing director and head of regulatory compliance for Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing, is taking on the position of COO of BitMEX, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, at a time when the challenges facing these exchanges are greater than ever.
In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Kwan told us:
“It is very exciting time for me to be joining the company. In the last three months, BitMEX broke the industry record for daily bitcoin trading volume twice and also launched two sophisticated financial products: ETH/USD perpetual swaps, and UPs and DOWNs (our first call and put options).”
This will be Kwan’s first experience working in the cryptocurrency world and, while BitMEX is registered in the Seychelles Islands, she is looking forward to building the company’s presence in Hong Kong, a recognized global hub for cryptocurrency innovation.
“Hong Kong is a great place to be with its fast pace of innovation, and evolution in technology and financial services. It’s a great springboard to China, the broader Asia region, and the rest of the world,” noted Kwan.
BitMEX CEO and co-founder Arthur Hayes said: “Welcoming Angelina — experienced in traditional finance and regulation — to the BitMEX team is a significant milestone not just for our company, but for the cryptocurrency industry as a whole. I believe Angelina’s decision to join us is a signal that the global markets are shifting focus to the rapidly-expanding domain of crypto-coins.”
A History of Working With Financial Services Regulators
Kwan’s significant regulatory compliance experience, including eight years with the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong (SFC), will be important as cryptocurrency businesses come under increasing scrutiny from regulatory bodies like the Securities and Exchange Commission in the U.S.
Kwan says she will be continuing the BitMEX practice of proactively monitoring and assessing the evolving global regulatory landscape.
"Regulatory compliance and prudent risk management is, and has always been, fundamental to the culture and practice of BitMEX globally. As such, BitMEX prohibits residents of various jurisdictions, including the U.S., from holding positions or entering into contracts on BitMEX,” said Kwan.
A recent report suggests that a majority of BitMEX’s users are in the U.S., so any SEC ruling, for example, would have a major impact. Recognizing the growing importance of regulatory compliance, Hayes said:
“Angelina’s vast experience in regulation, trading platforms, business development, restructuring, and investor and stakeholder relations will be pivotal as we continue the push towards mainstream cryptocurrency adoption and broaden our community.”
A Shared Commitment to Promoting Women in Crypto
One of the reasons Kwan chose BitMEX was the exchange’s commitment to promoting women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
“BitMEX has made its commitment to meritocracy clear and is sending the message that women with deep backgrounds in finance and business can execute at the highest level within cryptocurrency companies,” said Kwan.
Kwan is a Hong Kong government-appointed member of the Women’s Commission and is Vice Chair of The Women’s Foundation, an NGO dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in Hong Kong.
The Women’s Foundation, Kwan explains, offers “programs, mentorship and training to encourage women and girls to complete STEM programs so as to build a pipeline of female talent.”
But Kwan says that even these measures are not enough. “We have to get women to help and inspire each other as well as develop male allies, especially in the STEM fields, to encourage and offer opportunities for the pipeline of women to grow.”
Kwan notes that recent studies indicate that approximately 5 percent of crypto enthusiasts are women and also notes that women make up just 20 percent of the technology industry workforce.
Growing BitMEX’s Market Share
Kwan’s extensive experience working with global financial services firms in Asia and the U.S. makes her well placed to grow BitMEX.
“I will be responsible for overseeing and driving the company’s growth,” said Kwan, “while guiding BitMEX on its mission to offer advanced, innovative financial products for the global cryptocurrency industry.”
Kwan’s background includes restructuring and relisting a bankrupt financial services company, spearheading the establishment of new operations and companies, and serving on a number of boards and committees.
But Kwan told us that her most memorable accomplishments “have been joining organizations that are at the cusp of making a major breakthrough, so it’s with a sense of great excitement that I take on the challenge of driving BitMEX to new market heights.”