Home Energy company Binances’ JV with Billionaire Sarath Ratanavadi’s Gulf Energy to Apply for Thailand Digital Exchange License

Binances’ JV with Billionaire Sarath Ratanavadi’s Gulf Energy to Apply for Thailand Digital Exchange License

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Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has formed a joint venture with billionaire Sarath Ratanavadi’s Gulf Energy Development and will seek a license to operate a digital asset exchange in Thailand.

The partnership, which was first announced in January, comes amid growing demand for cryptocurrencies and other digital assets in the Southeast Asian country. In addition to the joint venture in Thailand, Gulf Energy said it has separately agreed to invest in BNB (often referred to as Binance Coin), an exchange-issued cryptocurrency that allows users to access public services via its blockchain, as well than an investment in the preferred stock of the US subsidiary of Binance which operates as Binance.US.

“The Company believes that this multi-level cooperation with Binance, which is the global leader in blockchain infrastructure technology, is aligned with the Company’s goal of being the leader in digital infrastructure while providing the new opportunities to expand into other digital asset-related initiatives in the future,” Gulf Energy said in a regulatory filing on the Stock Exchange of Thailand on Monday.

Gulf Energy, one of Thailand’s largest power producers, has diversified its portfolio with investments in renewable energy, toll road projects and telecommunications. In October, the company struck a deal with Singaporean telecommunications giant Singtel to develop a data center business in Thailand. It came months after Gulf Energy acquired more shares of Intouch Holdings, which owns Thailand’s largest mobile operator.

Binance, which was founded in 2017 by billionaire Changpeng Zhao, who goes by the name CZ, and his co-founder He Yi, is expanding in Thailand as regulators step up scrutiny of the fledgling industry. The country’s central bank said in December that it was considering rules that would regulate the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, a move likely aimed at controlling the risks that digital assets could bring to financial stability and provide also guarantees to investors.

The crypto giant has previously run into trouble with Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission, which filed a criminal complaint in July against the company for operating without a license. The offense is punishable by two to five years in prison and a fine of up to 500,000 baht ($14,854). Binance said earlier that the platform has not actively solicited users in Thailand.

Binance has expanded its presence in the Middle East after recently securing separate licenses in Abu Dhani, Bahrain, and Dubai. (Disclosure: Binance recently announced a strategic investment in Forbes.)