Huobi’s Transformation to HTX: Evolution and Global Vision

22 sept 2023 11 min read
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For leading crypto exchange HTX, the 10th anniversary is a special moment representing the successful culmination of its first decade-long journey. These past ten years have seen the crypto industry experience both remarkable highs and challenging lows, mirroring HTX’s journey filled with moments of glory and setbacks. HTX began humbly in 2013, growing and attaining the status of the largest exchange in the Chinese market in 2017. Even though HTX exited Mainland China in 2021, it achieved significant milestones elsewhere.

This year, as another decade begins, how will HTX embark on its next decade-long plan?

From Huobi to HTX: A New Chapter Starting with “X”

In algebra, the letter “X” is often used to represent something unknown with limitless possibilities.

For Elon Musk, the element “X” plays a significant role in his companies, from xAI to SpaceX. After acquiring popular social media platform Twitter, he rebranded it under the element and named it “X”.

Nearly a year under the new ownership, HTX has successfully integrated ‘X’ into its revamped brand strategy, signaling the start of a new global chapter. This rebranding introduces a new corporate slogan: “HTX, Just Trade It.”

● According to HTX’s spokesperson, “H” stands for Huobi and continues the heritage of Huobi, “T” represents TRON with a commitment to continue building in the TRON ecosystem, and “X” stands for the exchange.

●  From a different perspective, ‘HT’ also represents the native platform token on the exchange (Huobi Token), so the name ‘HTX’ can also be understood as the exchange for trading HT.

Being a well-known exchange in the industry, HTX is undoubtedly a valuable asset that has withstood the test of time. So what considerations prompted HTX to revamp its branding?

HTX has been a leader among the Chinese crypto exchanges. However, with changes in the landscape and its withdrawal from Mainland China, HTX’s market share and competitiveness have seen stale growth. While distractions in the evolving competitive scene led to HTX’s weaken share:

The rise of DeFi, Layer2, and other exchanges created greater competition. This elevated market globalization and decentralization. To keep up with the rapidly changing environment, the transformation and upgrade of HTX is inevitable.

This broader context is the driving force behind HTX’s rebranding, especially considering the following two timelines:

●   In September 2013, HTX was officially established. Over a decade, HTX experienced significant transformations, from dominating the global Bitcoin trading market share to setting up offshore companies.

●    In October 2022, HTX underwent a change in ownership, with significant developments such as the introduction of Justin Sun in an advisory role, and organizational and personnel adjustments.

HTX has spent a year in adaptation, which involved several months dedicated to restructuring, cost reduction, and efficiency readjustments. As a result, HTX now finds itself on a more stable footing, and in prime condition to initiate this brand upgrade:

Recent internal adjustments also provided the exchange with the opportunity to begin a new chapter of strategic planning for the next decade.

HTX Embarks on a New Global Journey

With this rebranding, HTX is once again embarking on a journey of globalization, with HTX as its global brand.

The strategic plan covers two main areas: expanding its global reach and diversifying its product offerings, in an effort to achieve global expansion in a coordinated manner.

Ramping up Global Compliance Step by Step

HTX’s Dominica market marks the beginning of its journey in global expansion. Its main goal is to achieve decentralization while focusing on key regions, exploring potential markets, achieving balanced growth in different countries, and strategically expanding its global footprint.

In other words, the goal is to reduce dependence on a single country or region. Instead, HTX will continuously explore new markets such as their partnership with Dominica. They will venture into new markets with promising prospects. This approach requires keen intuition and swift action, and the Hong Kong crypto market stands out as one of the best examples of this strategy. Today’s cryptocurrency markets and projects cannot ignore the potential and influence of Hong Kong.

Earlier this year, HTX crossed its path with Hong Kong. In April, HTX Night was held during the Hong Kong Web3 Carnival, which Justin Sun attended as a speaker. Hong Kong also witnessed the establishment of the pioneering crypto rating agency HKVAC in late May, with HTX proudly serving as its first exchange member. Clearly, HTX’s presence in Hong Kong is gradually taking shape.

Apart from Hong Kong, HTX is currently advancing compliance efforts in other countries and regions, including Gibraltar, Lithuania, Dubai, BVI, Australia, and more, applying for licenses and building compliance. Furthermore, in June 2023, HTX’s Mars Program set its sights in space, aiming to challenge the boundaries of cryptocurrency adoption.

The narrative in the blockchain industry has always been about providing banking services to those regions lacking banking and financial infrastructure. However, HTX’s strategic initiatives span across Asia, Europe, Africa, and Oceania, aligning with the strong demand for cryptocurrencies in emerging markets. This expansion also serves as a crucial lever for HTX to compete for market share and expand its financial services.

As the volume and influence of the crypto space continue to rise, it becomes clear that complying to regulations are essential for the overall growth of both the crypto industry and the exchange sector. HTX’s commitment to regulatory compliance is its lifeline, highlighting its dedication to achieving balanced growth and establishing a global presence in the space.

Forging a “Super Crypto Ecosystem”

Competition in the crypto exchange sector has always been fierce, particularly in today’s saturated market. To attract and retain users, exchanges must look beyond the core function of trading and offer more.

HTX is in the process of reshaping its product portfolio ahead of market trends, recognizing the need to diversify products and services beyond geographical expansion.

They aspire to be the driving force behind the creation of the ultimate cryptocurrency ecosystem, akin to Elon Musk’s ambitions for social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter).

HTX envisions a super ecosystem that aims to introduce top-quality assets into the cryptocurrency realm and provide an all-encompassing platform including spot trading, derivatives trading, wealth and asset management. The goal is to enable users to trade, discover, and invest in selected crypto assets while delivering professional services and diversified products to a global user base.

What sets them apart is its competitive edge, perfectly resonating with the TRON blockchain, which hosts billions of USDT and a massive user base. This brings together the synergy of an exchange, public blockchain, and stablecoin, resulting in a “1+1>2” effect.

Their strategic approach addresses a core business model that many other exchanges, such as Binance, are emphasizing but have yet to fully develop. It involves integrating real-world assets (RWA) with genuine use cases into the cryptocurrency space, bridging the gap between high-quality assets and exchange users worldwide.

One notable example of HTX’s commitment to this vision is its strong support for RWA DAO’s Real World Asset (RWA) token, stUSDT. Through collaboration with Justlend DAO, HTX facilitates stUSDT staking services, an initiative that integrates real-world assets into the DeFi sector, offering robust channels to users, bridging the divide of investment targets between individuals and institutions.

HTX will continue to introduce a wide range of promotions and products related to asset operations. They plan to consistently refine its flagship product lineup, featuring PrimeVote and Flexi Max, and to unveil more new offerings, similar to the recently launched Shark Fin, as well as an asset custody product that was developed in partnership with Fireblocks. In doing so, HTX aims to furnish users with secured and diverse options for safeguarding and maximizing the value of their cryptocurrency assets.

HTX closely monitors market trends and strategically diversifies its operations into new sectors, aiming to discover sustainable wealth opportunities that are accessible to a broader range of users. HTX will;

●   Deepen collaborations with mainstream ecosystems, including (but not limited to) public chains, Layer 2, and meme coins.

●   Pays close attention to developments in emerging sectors.

● Actively collaborates with high-quality project teams to ensure prompt listing of new digital assets on the platform, to meet users’ needs for both spot and futures trading.

For instance, HTX was among the first movers to list popular assets such as #PEPE and #AIDOGE during the meme coin hype this April, which played a significant role in injecting vitality into the lackluster market during this period. They have also established strategic partnerships with world-renowned service providers, public chains, and project teams, including TradingView, Polygon, and UniSat Wallet, to collaboratively build a multi-dimensional business ecosystem and enhance user experience.

In addition, lucky users from the HTX Mars Program during HTX’s 10th anniversary celebrations enjoyed a multitude of prizes. The prize package includes a chance to compete with shortlisted space candidates for a coveted $6 million space travel, a round trip experience on a private jet, and the latest Tesla Model 3 (distributed in the form of 20,000 USDT and 20,000 USDT in future trial bonuses). HTX aims to attract more users and bring them into the cryptocurrency realm by offering a variety of campaigns with attractive rewards.

To reiterate, while HTX concentrates on the mainstream crypto ecosystem to meet with users’ trading demands, it is also exploring emerging sectors to uncover more wealth opportunities accessible to users. This not only fulfills the essential needs of users in the current crypto market but also aligns with its vision after rebranding: “Achieving Financial Freedom for 8 Billion People on Earth”.

What Does the Future Hold for the Development of Exchanges?

 “People tend to overestimate short-term impacts while overlooking long-term trends”.

Every turning point and revolution in the blockchain industry, from Uniswap to Cryptokitties, can be identified by subtle yet discernible clues and indications long before they actually occur. Many seemingly unremarkable new technologies or trends today have the potential to reshape the entire industry in the future.

In the realm of cryptocurrency exchanges, it has been just under a year since the sudden collapse of FTX in early November 2022. The entire crypto industry and exchange landscape have now transitioned into a “post-FTX era”.

The most significant change is that leading platforms such as Binance, OKX, HTX, and various other small and medium-sized exchanges have successively introduced reserve asset proofs, further advancing the development of asset security within exchanges. HTX updated its Merkle tree Proof of Reserves in September this year and maintains reserves that consistently exceed 100% to ensure the security of user funds.

The crypto business is still in the early stages of the adoption curve, as indicated by a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report. However, projections indicate that by 2030, the total number of cryptocurrency users will reach an impressive one billion. The report estimates that the top five exchanges will account for 65-75% of global spot trading volume and 80-90% of the futures trading volume.

In short, centralized exchanges (CEX) are expected to maintain their pivotal position in the cryptocurrency market in the near future. However, as the industry moves into the “post-FTX era”, the dominance of a single exchange has reached the peak within the exchange landscape. This becomes apparent when examining industry developments and the growing recognition of the importance of risk diversification.

Therefore, with the rapid expansion of CEX, the industry’s future may be characterized by a landscape of “one superpower, multiple strong players.” Undoubtedly, the scope of competition among exchanges will continue to broaden.

Against this backdrop, regulatory compliance and product innovation are set to assume a growing importance in the competition among exchanges, mirroring the development path of Binance, which initially faced setbacks but later rose to prominence. Regulatory compliance and product innovation will become the primary drivers of competitive advantage. While this trend may be less pronounced at present, its influence is destined to increase over time.

“There is the potential to breathe new life into old things through innovation and change.”

As old Huobi marks its 10th anniversary, the year-long restructuring of the new HTX is finally nearing completion. As these two timelines converge, the demarcation between the old and the new becomes less distinct. However, one fact remains evident: the new timeline heralds a new chapter for HTX.

With the rebranding to HTX as its new identity, the exchange will strategically push for globalization, actively promote regulatory compliance and product innovation, and embark on its ambitious plan for the next decade.

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