‘We can’t keep putting band-aids on the current system’ — OKX


A provocative new advertising campaign from cryptocurrency exchange OKX challenges traditional finance and Web3 competitors by calling for a rewrite of current financial and digital systems.

The company released its latest production-quality advert, which subtly aims at the American exchange Coinbase and the broader traditional finance space. In an in-depth interview with Cointelegraph, OKX chief marketing officer Haider Rafique outlined the exchange’s belief that blockchain-enabled technology is imperative in rebuilding financial infrastructure and empowering digital ownership.

Under Rafique’s tenure as CMO, OKX has embarked on high-profile partnerships and bold advertising campaigns with the likes of Manchester City and Formula1 team McLaren that have exposed cryptocurrencies and Web3 offerings to massive audiences around the world.

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The Rewrite the System campaign features strong imagery highlighting inflation, data breaches, and censorship as indicators of a broken system. As Rafique explained, talks of updates to existing financial and digital infrastructure do not resolve long-standing issues which formed the basis of the campaign:

“The current system is not really designed to be updated and then updated into a system that can really solve some of the problems that the entire system has created.”

Multiple industry-impacting events have played out over the past year that have put a stark highlight on the shortcomings of existing financial systems and failings of significant TradFi and DeFi players.

The infamous collapse of FTX under the reign of Sam Bankman-Fried damaged the image of the cryptocurrency space. Meanwhile traditional financial institutions faced their own crises in high-inflation economic environments as the likes of Silicon Valley Bank, Silvergate and Silvergate all folded.

“I think there will be continuous failures in this current system because it’s being stressed. It’s being stressed from a financial ecosystem standpoint.”

Rafique believes that the current situation will serve as a means to show how blockchain-based software allows people greater control of both their economic and digital sovereignty:

“Our hope is that we can give the tooling to people that Web3 starts with, ultimately downloading software on your machine or your phone that enables you to be your own bank.”

Interoperability is another core component of a compelling argument for blockchain-based, Web3 tools to reinvent financial systems and platforms. Rafique used Google and Apple App store’s siloed nature and lack of compatibility as an example where blockchain-based applications or networks’ interoperability could come to the fore:

“Crypto and blockchain-based apps are actually designed to connect with each other and drive their interoperability.”

Providing a wallet service that connects public chains to streamline digital assets management is part of the exchange’s efforts to provide a Web3 experience that showcases the interoperability inherent in blockchain technology:

“We want to connect all crypto ecosystems together so you can hop from one place to another place or another place very easily, but also at a very low transaction costs.”

As for its advertising efforts, Rafique is clear in his belief that entertaining audiences with fresh partnerships in diverse markets and spaces has created a certain image for the exchange.

Cointelegraph was on hand for OKX’s livery takeover of McLaren’s F1 car at the Singapore grand prix in 2022 and spoke to Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo, a figure who featured prominently in its prominent advertising campaign late last year. Humorous TV ads featuring Man City manager Jose Mourinho and his players and metaverse campaigns with Jack Grealish further highlight the company’s efforts to promote Web3 to potential new users:

“You either want to articulate a problem that’s immediate in their life, or go back to entertaining people, and they might just give us a chance.”

The release of the Rewrite the System campaign also coincided with a partnership announcement with the Tribeca film festival. The exchange’s Web3 focus on NFTs through its marketplace provides the backbone of augmented mixed reality experiences at the popular New York film festival.

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