Is OKX/OKEX Exchange selling imaginary crypto?

OKX was founded in 2017 and is headquartered in Seychelles (East Africa), per Investopedia and other sources. “The site claims over 20 million users in more than 100 countries.” An issue of concern for the company is “low liquidity for certain currencies.” Investopedia’s verdict is that “due to some inconsistencies, unclear information, and past customer experiences, it’s a good idea to proceed with caution.”

Corruption Ledger expanded the scope of the investigation and looked at various reviews posted online on several platforms that do respectable diligence in preventing bots or ‘fake users’ from posting content. For instance, although Reddit users can remain relatively anonymous, Reddit will reveal a user’s timeline of commentary, which provides a good view of whether you’re dealing with a real person, whether the user account was created for the purposes of attacking a particular entity, etc.

The investigation was initially inspired by a Reddit post we came across in which HappyHippoDeluxe expressed frustration involving their “purchase” of Monero (also known to traders as XMR) on the exchange. It appears that OKX provided them with a non-existent or fake transaction ID, taking the user’s money but providing no Monero in return. This amounts to misrepresentation and fraud, as the exchange is taking funds to return a product or currency they don’t have.

So we dug a little deeper and looked at the exchange and what others have been saying about their experiences with it.

According to TrustPilot, the average user rating for OKX is 3.3 stars out of 5, with 299 reviews at the time of this post. It’s worth noting what the most recent reviews are saying, however. Of the 10 most recent reviews:

– 9 have rated the exchange 1 star out of 5
– 7 reference missing or inaccessible funds
– 7 reference lack of support
– 6 reference inaccessible funds
– 4 have called out security issues
– 3 reference fraudulent activity on the account and lack of support

Perhaps the most concerning feedback involves users who have confirmed on the public ledger / blockchain explorer that transactions were in fact completed but the funds are missing. Public ledgers provide transparent proof of transactions, verification, number of confirmations, and so on, depending on the particular cryptocurrency.

For Bitcoin, for example, when you complete a transaction and crypto changes hands, a unique transaction ID is created, also called the TXID. Using that ID, the wallet address or other elements, you can find the transaction on the public blockchain. Using any of these, for instance, you can see that this address received about $190 worth of Bitcoin, and the balance of that wallet is the same amount. There is such transparency that you can’t get away with falsely claiming you sent someone Bitcoin. It’s all there in the ledger.

The public ledger for Monero functions in a similar way, except that Monero is a privacy coin so the public ledger does not reveal how much XMR was sent or received, or which exact address it was sent to. Yet you can still search for your transaction using a transaction ID, similar to Bitcoin. The unique transaction ID allows you to verify whether the transaction is in progress, completed or non-existent.

Hence you can’t just tell someone you sent them Monero and provide a fake transaction ID, since it can be verified to be fake by just searching the public ledger, much in the same fashion as the Bitcoin.

In the case of HappyHippoDeluxe above, the transaction ID was provided to the trader by the exchange, yet the ID did not exist in the blockchain. HappyHippoDeluxe also provided additional evidence of the transaction that would have been difficult to falsify in such a short time and cohere with the complaints initially made, as well as support messages. These are shown below; note that although the Monero/XMR in the account appears to be there, the user is told not to withdraw it.

Non-existent transaction ID:


User Transactions:

Support Interactions:

Corruption Ledger recommends that you do your own due diligence before transacting with OKX. It may also be worth your while to check out this series of unanswered due diligence questions on Reddit. Keep in mind that Trust Pilot reviews also note the apparent inability of OKX to follow through on “offers” presented to its customers.

Additional evidence may be presented as we confirm additional sources found.

Trust Pilot