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OKX partners with Manchester City to build trust in crypto

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Last week, the global cryptocurrency exchange OKX announced a new partnership with Manchester City Football Club. OKX has partnered with Manchester City since March 2022 and, in July that year, started to sponsor the club’s training kit partner. In a new multi-year agreement, the two partners have agreed to “expand” the relationship, with the OKX brand now featuring on the Manchester City shirt for the new season.

Haider Rafique, OKX’s Chief Marketing Officer, told Disruption Banking that the exchange wants to use this partnership to send a very clear message. “Our intention here is to say to the word – not all crypto companies are in trouble. There are good actors here.”

Particularly as its competitors such as Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken come under increased regulatory scrutiny, Rafique wants to emphasise that “there are good actors who are pro-regulation. There are good actors who care about customers, about transparency, especially as it relates to proof of reserves. There are good actors who are systematically thinking about brand partnerships, not just for bragging rights, but to drive business for the wider industry.” OKX has previously argued that its sponsorship of Manchester City has “helped introduce the brand to millions of football fans around the world through innovative Web3 experiences.”

Rafique is optimistic that the “synergies” between the crypto industry and the world of football mean that OKX’s move to partner with Manchester City will pay off. “Football is a highly competitive sport and in crypto, we are made up of developers, creators, entrepreneurs, investors, and traders. In order for both of these groups to be successful in their field, you need the mental and physical fitness. These are high-stress environments. That is a commonality that the brings us together.”

“The other piece,” Rafique continued, “is that change is welcomed by us as a company and an industry, and change is also embraced by a team like Man City. If you don’t embrace change, and you’re not driving the change, you’re part of the disruption but not leading it. I think that philosophy brings our two companies and two ecosystems together.”

It’s true that the last twelve months or so have been a difficult time for the crypto industry. The collapse of FTX last year especially rattled markets and dented the reputation of crypto in the eyes of some consumers. Rafique noted that “optically, a lot of the world still thinks that cryptos are going through a volatile stage.”

However, he is encouraged that the fundamentals of the crypto industry appear to have remained relatively strong, and this is the message OKX wants to distribute through its partnership deals. “Crypto is following traditional markets very closely – which isn’t a peg that doesn’t always make us feel comfortable – but when traditional markets are going up, you see a positive run in crypto.”

“But the main reason I don’t think crypto is volatile anymore is that BlackRock recently got approved for a Bitcoin ETF. Fidelity has also applied for a spot ETF. These are really good signals – if crypto was volatile, I don’t think big institutions would be making statements like this,” Rafique added.

OKX has always sought to emphasise its credentials as a transparent crypto exchange – with the company openly publishing proof of reserves. Rafique told Disruption Banking that OKX welcomes the prospect of industry regulation, too. “I think that we can’t live without regulations – every industry, to some degree, has to get to a point where you go from early incubation to a mature, regulated industry. We’re at that point and it actually should be a moment we all celebrate, that we’re big enough for regulators around the world to come in, work with us, and regulate the industry.”

“We welcome this but urge regulators not to take the choice away from customers,” he added. “We must ask: what are regulations for? What’s the purpose of regulations? Consumer protection and preventing money laundering and those types of things should be at the heart of it, to ensure there’s no nefarious activity. But what you don’t want to do in that quest is take the choice away from people.”

It certainly appears that OKX is trying to position itself as one of crypto’s more transparent – and trusted – players. Signing partnerships with global brands such as Manchester City, and getting the OKX name to consumers around the world, is undoubtedly part of this strategy. As the crypto industry gears up for another potential bull run, time will tell if OKX is able to reap the rewards.

Author: Harry Clynch

#Crypto #DigitalAssets #OKX #Regulation #Marketing

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