Following a successful launch in California only a few months ago, the U.S. branch of cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin is adding five new coins to its listings. Those coins include Ripple (XRP), Cardano (ADA), Stellar lumens (XLM), Zcash (ZEC) and 0x (ZRX).
OKCoin made the announcement today, September 19, 2018. The new coins will be paired with the U.S. dollar, bitcoin and ether, the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum platform. Trading against fiat pairs will be available to California residents only, while crypto-to-crypto pairs will be available in California along with 20 other states across the U.S.
“We are very pleased to welcome these five new cryptocurrencies and all of the communities that trade them,” said Tim Byun, OKCoin USA CEO, in a statement. He added that OKCoin is committed to only bringing in tokens “that offer utility, value and demonstrable use cases.”
The moves comes at a time when the exchange is aggressively growing its business in the U.S. OKCoin originally set up shop in Mountain View in November 2017. In June 2018, the company relocated to San Francisco, and the following month, it officially announced its presence in the U.S. when it began offering trading between the U.S. dollar and several major cryptocurrencies. Just a week ago, OKCoin opened up crypto-to-crypto trading in numerous other states, after its compliance teams worked diligently to ensure their practices were following all of the various states' rules.
The exchange itself has a long history. One of the oldest crypto exchanges, OKCoin was originally launched in China in 2013. At the time, China was considered the world’s hub for bitcoin trading, and OKCoin became one of the three biggest exchanges in the country, alongside Huobi and BTCC.
OKCoin originally focused on bitcoin-to-yuan trades. To attract a crowd of more professional traders, the following year, the company launched OKEx, which offered hundreds of token-to-token trading pairs. The setup is similar to how Coinbase, a popular cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S., operates Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX).
China’s cryptocurrency trading business took a hit when the Chinese central bank began regulating bitcoin starting in December 2013. In September 2017, the People’s Bank of China lowered the final curtain when it issued an all-out crypto trading ban in the country. In the past 18 months, OKCoin was also deeply affected when regulations kept it from providing service in nine other countries.
Today, OKEx is listed on CoinMarketCap as the second-largest exchange by trading volume, but looks can be deceiving. Critics argue that the exchange is a virtual “ghost town” and 93 percent of trading volume is fake. In an attempt to regain some of its former glory, OKCoin International relaunched in April 2018, with an eye on the U.S.
Due to regulatory uncertainty in the U.S., it may run into some old, familiar roadblocks. If the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules that Ripple, Ada and other popular coins are securities and subject to the same regulatory oversight as stocks, OKCoin will have to either severely limit its offerings or register with the SEC as a broker-dealer or move to become a licenced alternative trading system (ATS), sort of along the lines of what Coinbase is aiming for and what Circle is doing with Poloniex.