Binance and Gulf Energy to open crypto exchange in Thailand

Binance is set to publicly launch a crypto exchange in Thailand in early 2024 in partnership with the local energy powerhouse Gulf Energy Development.

According to a filing with the Stock Exchange of Thailand on Nov. 15 by Gulf Energy, the joint venture named Gulf Binance will initially operate on an invitation-only basis, leading to a public launch in early 2024.

The latest development follows the venture’s receipt of approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 10.

Gulf Binance was granted digital asset operator licenses by Thailand’s Ministry of Finance on May 26, allowing it to run a crypto exchange under the oversight of the country’s SEC. Binance had initially aimed to launch its Thai division by the fourth quarter of 2023.

Richard Teng, Binance’s regional head for Asia, Europe, and MENA, commented on the partnership, highlighting the strategic use of Gulf’s strong local presence and network.

Gulf Energy, a major player in Thailand’s natural gas distribution, is led by Thai billionaire Sarath Ratanavadi. The company is renowned for its diverse investment portfolio, which spans various sectors such as renewable energy production, infrastructure development, and digital infrastructure ventures, among others.

“Gulf Binance’s digital asset platform will provide digital asset exchange and digital asset broker services for both cryptocurrencies and digital tokens, prioritizing security and compliance with SEC regulations.”

Gulf Binance

Tackling cryptocurrency scams in Thailand

However, the rise of cryptocurrency in Thailand has been marred by scams, prompting concerns. Binance has played a crucial role in assisting Thai law enforcement in tackling these issues. The exchange was instrumental in two significant operations against cryptocurrency scams in the country.

The first, known as “Operation Trust No One,” led to the arrest of individuals involved in a ‘pig butchering’ scam, a type of investment-romance fraud targeting inexperienced investors. This operation, which resulted in the seizure of assets worth over $277 million, underscored the severity of such scams in Thailand.

Binance also aided in disrupting a large transnational cryptocurrency scam network, leading to several arrests and the seizure of high-value assets and cash.

Tigran Gambaryan, Binance’s Head of Financial Crime Compliance, highlighted the global reach of their security measures, underscoring the importance of transcending geographical barriers in ensuring security.

This venture between Binance and Gulf Energy marks a notable step in Thailand’s evolving regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies, with expectations of a more crypto-friendly approach from the new government.

This advancement holds particular importance given that Thailand’s cryptocurrency exchange market is predominantly led by Bitkub at present. However, the future of the crypto trading landscape in Thailand remains to be determined, especially with new tax regulations on overseas crypto income being considered.

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