Double digits. Half a score. A whole decade. No matter how you measure it, 10 years is a serious commitment. Whether for honing an artistic craft, or nurturing an idea into an enterprise, such dedication requires focus and sustained vision; the perseverance to reach further than most. Qualities that CEX.IO Founder and CEO, Oleksandr Lutskevych, has instilled into the fabric of all his creations. After helping launch the legendary Bitcoin mining pool, GHash.io, Alex was inspired to pitch a wider tent for curious participants to gather and share in the wonders of crypto discovery. CEX.IO was established in 2013, and immediately set its coordinates for the horizon. Ever since, the company has done its part to pull digital assets from the periphery, and act as a bridge to the marbled halls of traditional finance (TradFi).
Right away, the CEX.IO Team had a blueprint for increasing crypto access, and the technological tenacity to back it up. But there was understanding about a need to tread safely and carefully. Channeling Alex’s sage wisdom to reduce mining power during Ghash.io’s brush with dominance, the decision was made to lead by example. As such, the practices of pursuing proper licenses, and working with regulators wherever possible, were baked into the company’s DNA. Crucially, this would help ensure that CEX.IO’s services were welcome in the jurisdictions they were made available. But on a more high-minded note, it aimed to blaze an alternate pathway compared with companies that insisted on the uncertainty and precarity of a “Wild West” approach. As it turned out, adhering to a set of operational ethics that eschews shortcuts had many upsides.
Walking the walk
In 2014, CEX.IO succeeded in obtaining PCI DSS compliance, certifying its ability to store user data, and help facilitate third-party payment provider transactions. This allowed the company to break new ground by becoming the first cryptocurrency exchange that empowered users to purchase digital assets with a credit or debit card. Fully-integrated payment rails with Visa and Mastercard soon followed, and the CEX.IO community was introduced to amenities that were both familiar and forward-looking. Suddenly, the key to exploring and interacting with services in the digital economy was already in the possession of many. These convenient on-ramps set an inclusive tone for future company efforts that aimed to introduce additional user-centric pathways. Already, the CEX.IO Team was seeing the fruits of its labor.
The following year, CEX.IO registered and completed its first audit with FinCEN. This helped reaffirm the company’s sustained commitment to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing from polluting the crypto ecosystem. Today, CEX.IO continues to pass annual audits to comply with the body, and remains a vocal supporter of increased regulatory oversight for the space. For digital assets to achieve mainstream adoption, the same rules must apply to the cryptocurrency industry as they do to other payment instruments. This remains a strongly held belief within company culture to this day.
Alongside efforts to improve and refine crypto’s integrity, CEX.IO made a major expansion to its product ecosystem in 2015 with the debut of a mobile app. Mimicking the existing desktop exchange interface, verified customers could now access their CEX.IO accounts from wherever they could connect, and in accordance with their local regulatory landscape. Much like the debut of credit/debit card payments the year before, transacting power was again in the hands of curious participants looking to explore opportunities in digital finance. With iOS and Android versions available for download, the company remains brand agnostic in an effort to boost inclusion.
The remaining years leading up to the first crypto winter in 2018 were dedicated to expanding reach, and cementing generative practices into CEX.IO’s day-to-day operations. The company opened new offices in Gibraltar, and employed a dedicated MLRO for the region. Building off earlier efforts to integrate credit/debit payment rails, withdrawal capabilities were added, introducing seamless off-ramps for participants to exit the ecosystem at their leisure. This remains a unique feature throughout much of the crypto space, and a hallmark of CEX.IO’s community-minded offerings. In the wake of this development, and in response to cooling market temperatures, the company entered 2019 with the goal of expanding overseas to accommodate a mostly untapped region: the United States.
A new frontier
Thus began a multi-pronged effort to acquire Money Transmitter Licenses (MTLs) where necessary to operate legally in the U.S. This effort required the coordinated efforts of compliance, product, marketing, and communications departments to collaborate with regulators, and keep the company’s growing online community informed. By the end of 2021, CEX.IO had secured MTLs in over 30 states, greatly improving its stature as a globally recognized crypto presence. This period ushered in another wave of product innovations, as the company continued to notch licensure accomplishments.
After earning its Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) license in Gibraltar, the company brought its credit/debit payment solution to market in the form of CEX.IO Direct. This allowed companies to integrate a best-in-class fiat-to-crypto on-ramp for their website or exchange. With widescale crypto adoption still serving as a key goal for the company, this move enabled entrepreneurs to include digital assets in their future endeavors. Now, CEX.IO was providing access to retail and enterprise participants to explore and contribute to the future of finance.
In 2020, the company rolled out a litany of products that rose to prominence as decentralized finance (DeFi) continued to proliferate. Hassle-free Liquid Staking, Instant Sell, and new cryptocurrency-backed Loan services worked together to give users greater latitude with their digital portfolios. This set the stage for CEX.IO to once again serve as the causeway connecting TradFi with emerging advancements. Along with integrating Apple Pay and Google Pay for retail transactions, CEX.IO expanded its institutional offerings to better assist white shoe firms in navigating the crypto ecosystem.
CEX.IO Prime launched in 2021 offering a suite of all-in-one amenities built with asset managers, banks, and hedge funds in mind. On the retail side, individual users saw the addition of CEX.IO Earn, an umbrella that included in-house Savings and Staking services. This program offered a simple hub for seizing opportunities that avoided steep learning curves and high gas fees. Now, users could enjoy unprecedented freedom of movement with their digital assets, as well as a stress-free environment to experiment with new financial pathways.
In May 2021, CEX.IO hit an all-time record for trading volume with nearly $1 billion in combined value across the platform. With so many on-ramps to choose from, CEX.IO was well-positioned for the unfolding crypto boom.
Riding industry highs into 2022, the company began a hot streak of positive accolades, partnerships, and in-house achievements. CEX.IO was named “Best Overall DeFi Platform” by the FinTech Breakthrough Awards Program, and ranked among the “Top 10 Cryptocurrency Exchanges” by CryptoCompare, with an overall “A” rating. The company would go on to be named “Best Exchange” by the 2022 Hedgeweek European Digital Assets Awards. In April of that year, CEX.IO became one of the few crypto companies to partner with PayPal. By integrating payment portals across CEX.IO’s product ecosystem, customers with existing PayPal accounts could now link them to use as a funding source for fiat transactions.
Simultaneously, the CEX.IO Market Research Team launched CEX.IO University, and kickstarted the release of quarterly COMPASS reports assessing development and innovation in the digital economy. These free educational and analytical resources helped elucidate a range of industry topics, track emerging trends, and provide diagnostic readings of on-chain data. By offering the opportunity to build foundational crypto knowledge, community members are better prepared to make more informed decisions along their crypto journey. But not even the success of two major undertakings, or a row of trophies on the mantle, could prevent what was about to unfold in the crypto space.
The present, and beyond
Deep down, we all knew the boom times couldn’t last. But few could predict the series of high-profile black swan events that would domino as the tide began to recede in 2022. The implosion of Terra/LUNA, the deterioration of Three Arrows Capital, FTX helping to redefine crypto malfeasance, and turbulence in the traditional banking sector all sent tremors through the ecosystem. And yet, throughout these undulations, CEX.IO has remained steady, and continued on despite the inclement weather.
In a contracted market, the company elevated its trading experience with the launch of Exchange Plus. Backed by Prime’s institutional liquidity engine, Exchange Plus would help CEX.IO net “Best Overall DeFi Platform” again in 2023 with FinTech Breakthrough’s recognition of the platform. Despite the uncertain tenor of the current crypto landscape, the company is still capable of making waves.
This past October, CEX.IO was named “Best Cryptocurrency Platform in Europe” by the 2023 Digital Assets Awards, and was once again recognized as a “Vetted Exchange” by Digital Asset Research. Such validation after a decade in the industry only reaffirms the company’s commitment to regulation and above-board services as the correct means to achieving wider adoption. After all, dependability is critical to establishing trust, and while crypto offers the possibility of “trustless” transactions, in practice, humans still play a key function. Despite the efforts of bad actors to sully the potential of these systems, we’re pleased to have emerged in a tenured position through our sustained belief in ethical crypto stewardship.
Now, let’s party!
To help celebrate this monumental, and rare industry achievement, we’re thrilled to announce eligible users will have the opportunity to participate in our 10th Birthday Giveaway! With a 2,000 USDT prize pool up for grabs, users can enter the competition by completing any number of the following actions:
- Download the CEX.IO App;
- Complete verification;
- Make a new deposit;
- Complete a new trade on Exchange Plus;
- Transfer funds to a CEX.IO Savings account;
- Like, comment, or share this announcement;
- Follow our official social media channels.
The more actions completed, the more chances users will have to win. The 10th Birthday Giveaway will run from November 1, 2023 until November 12, 2023, so consider completing your actions as soon as possible. We’ll be awarding 25 users with 20 USDT, 10 users with 100 USDT, and one lucky recipient will receive 500 USDT! Remember, our products are available in accordance with the local regulations in your region. For more information, please see our Licenses and Registrations.
Thanks for coming along for this unique, exciting, 10-year journey. We look forward to continuing our progress, and offering award-winning products and services for curious participants to find their own path through the crypto ecosystem. Here’s to another decade of dedicated service, and may the markets trend in your favor.
The web content provided by CEX.IO is for educational purposes only. The information and tools provided neither are, nor should be construed as, an offer, or a solicitation of an offer, or a recommendation, to buy, sell or hold any digital asset or to open a particular account or engage in any specific investment strategy. Digital asset markets are highly volatile and can lead to loss of funds.
The availability of the products, features, and services on the CEX.IO platform is subject to jurisdictional limitations. To understand what products and services are available in your region, please see our list of supported countries and territories. This page includes additional links to information about individual products, and their accessibility.