Wayne Huang and Winston Hsiao co-founded XREX in 2018. It’s the year of the Bitcoin plunge, and many people, including crypto enthusiasts, have lost their faith. However, Wayne and Winston strongly believe that Bitcoin and blockchain is an opportunity they must pursue after the dot-com revolution. They started XREX at a time when people were pulling out of the crypto industry, and in fact, the story of XREX began from the ashes of another exchange.
A Hacking Incident: 800+ Bitcoin Lost
June 20, 2014 was a unique day in Taiwan: the very first Taiwan-based crypto exchange BTCEx-TW was officially launched by Winston Hsiao. People were extremely excited about a new chapter in Taiwan’s crypto industry. Only seven months after launch, 1500+ users traded over 3100+ Bitcoin on BTCEx-TW. Unfortunately, the glorious moment of Winston’s exchange only lasted for a short period. BTCEx-TW was hacked in January 2015 and lost over 800 BTC, which would’ve been worth more than $40 million today.
Winston was shocked and frustrated, but he was not crushed. He still strongly believed that Bitcoin and blockchain will bring a huge change to human history, and he is determined to continue. He paid off all the users‘ loss from his own pocket and took the source code of his hacked exchange to meet Wayne Huang, a globally-known cybersecurity expert.
Top Security Expert: Your Exchange Will be Hacked Again
“Can you check the source code and fix it?” Winston was expecting to fix all the vulnerabilities and restart the exchange again within 6 months. However, Wayne gave him a clear NO. “Please do not start this exchange again. You might know Bitcoin, but you don’t know security or have top cybersecurity professionals with you. You will be hacked again if you restart the exchange.”
Winston did not restart his exchange. After the hacking incident, he remained active in crypto communities through Peer-to-Peer Trades, Over-The-Counter (OTC) trades, selling mining machines, and angel investments in crypto startups.
An Unknown phone call from the US to India
One day in 2018, Winston was in India for his international trading business. He suddenly received a phone call from an unknown number. It’s a US phone number. Strangely, Winston had a very strong feeling that it’s Wayne. It has been over three years since they contacted each other last time, but Winston’s intuition was right.
“As a technologist, I am extremely lucky to have participated in the internet revolution in the 20th century, which changed the world forever. It’s a rare opportunity in a person’s lifetime to feel the tremendous impact created.” In 2006, Wayne co-founded a cybersecurity startup, Armorize Technologies, and served as CEO. After exiting Armorize successfully to Proofpoint (NASDAQ: PFPT) in 2013, he served as VP Engineering to Proofpoint until 2018. During this period, Wayne had seen many technologists change the world in the energy, biomedical, and pharmaceutical industries. He wondered if there’s another such journey waiting for him.
As an engineer, an entrepreneur, and an angel investor, Wayne realized this was the journey he had been looking for when he understood Bitcoin. He knew blockchain would change the world forever like the internet, and he had to be a part of this movement. He believed that blockchain will impact human life greatly and in positive ways, especially in emerging economies, where people suffer from local fiat money depreciation, strict foreign exchange control, a weak domestic financial system, a fragile banking system with large unbanked populations.
The Next Revolution After the Internet: Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain
Wayne and Winston met a week after the phone call, and right after the meeting, Wayne and ten of his colleagues decided to quit their jobs and started preparing for XREX — a TradeTech company that aims to facilitate international trade and serve cross-border businesses in emerging economies using blockchain.
Wayne and his team are world-class cybersecurity specialists, cloud experts, and engineering professionals who are enthusiastic about the blockchain. And Winston is a crypto expert, an experienced businessman in international trade, and he knows developing countries. Born in Taiwan and grew up in India, Winston majored in economics at Savitribai Phule Pune University.
The digital age has altered information flows and brought further change to human life in all aspects. Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain are in the process of shaping a brand new digital economy and ecosystem, which will define the global financial system for the next generation and beyond. Today, many people are still unbanked, under-served, and unable to access the existing financial services. The crypto movement will benefit them the most. And this is the reason for Wayne, Winston, and XREX to start a new journey.
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain are still in a very early stage. Pioneers will face challenges and frustrations, just like the hacking incident that happened to Winston. But all these setbacks will not stop progress in the crypto movement, which is redefining the world we live in and the future financial systems. The pioneers are writing a new chapter of human history, and XREX is one of them.
Wayne Huang, Co-Founder & CEO to XREX
Before XREX, Wayne co-founded Armorize Technologies, which was later sold to Proofpoint (NASDAQ: PFPT). Into cybersecurity since 7th grade, Wayne has led teams to develop security products ranging from source code analysis, web application firewall, vulnerability assessment, exploit & malware detection, anti-malvertising, email security, and advanced persistent threat defense.
Being both a cybersecurity expert and a crypto enthusiast, Wayne is a frequent speaker at cybersecurity and blockchain conferences, including RSA, Blackhat, DefCon, BlockBeats, chain-in, SecTor, Blockchain Technology Conference, Swiss Cyber Storm, etc.
Wayne received his Ph.D. in EE from National Taiwan University and his BS and MS in CS from NCTU. He holds two US patents on source code analysis.
Winston Hsiao, Co-Founder & CRO to XREX
With a strong background in economics, Winston is a serial entrepreneur and active crypto trader. Winston founded Taiwan’s first crypto exchange BTCEx-TW, and later actively participates in different levels of the crypto industry, including investing in crypto startups.
Winston is also the founder & CEO of Verico International, a consumer electronics brand importing and exporting products between Taiwan, India, Russia, and other developing countries. He has rich experience and knowledge in crypto, blockchain, international trade, and developing countries.
In 2018, Winston co-founded XREX together with Wayne. He divides his time between Taipei and India.
XREX is a blockchain-enabled financial institution working with banks, regulators, and users to redefine banking together. We provide enterprise-grade banking services to small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in or dealing with emerging markets, and novice-friendly financial services to individuals worldwide.
Founded in 2018 and operating globally under multiple licenses, XREX offers a full suite of services such as digital asset custody, wallet, cross-border payment, fiat-crypto conversion, cryptocurrency exchange, asset management, and fiat currency on-off ramps.
Sharing the social responsibility of financial inclusion, XREX leverages blockchain technologies to further financial participation, access, and education.