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Binance Partners with Thai Billionaire to Launch an Exchange

Binance eyes Thailand for a digital exchange platform through a local partnership.

Meeting Local Regulations

  • Binance ventures into Thailand to set up a local crypto exchange with a wholly owned subsidiary of a public company linked to Thai billionaire Sarath Ratanavadi.
  • Binance's also teams up with Gulf Innova, is a launchpad to promote digital transformation by Gulf Energy Development.  
  • Gulf Energy Development notified the Thai Stock Exchange, on January 17, of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) inked with Binance for the development of a digital asset exchange.

In the letter to the Thai Stock Exchange, Gulf Energy Development’s Yupapin Wangwivat, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), said:

‘The Company believes that this collaboration will enhance the value of the digital asset exchange business as the Company brings its expertise in setting up business in the country with an unparalleled network of local corporates from real sector and the financial sector, while Binance brings its leading exchange technology.’

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a criminal complaint against Binance in July last year for contravening Thai’s digital asset regulation. Under the state’s Emergency Decree on Digital Asset Businesses 2018, the crypto exchange must be licensed. The latest development shows a potential rapprochement between Binance and Thai Authorities at the behest of Ratanavadi.

Crypto’s Rapid Growth

Bitkub Capital Group Holdings runs the largest licensed crypto exchange. In crypto ownership data by TripleA, only 5.2% of the Thai population owns crypto assets. Thailand is one of the first few countries in Southeast Asia to embrace cryptocurrencies. In mid-2018, the Thai authorities also approved seven cryptocurrencies for trading and also unveiled a crypto framework. 

Source: Bitkub is the largest crypto trading platform in Thailand and is the 15th largest crypto exchange in the world, according to CoinGecko.

The rapid growth in this industry has also led to other concerns to its regulators and lawmakers. In June last year, TukTuk Finance, a Decentralized Finance (DeFi) platform that debuted on the Bitkub Chain, suffered massive price swings. This led to the regulator imposing licensing requirements on DeFi protocols. 

Binance’s Role

Binance has repositioned itself in embracing regulation by localizing its operation. Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Binance, has reaffirmed Binance’s commitment towards regulation as the path forward. 

This stance was again reiterated by Binance's spokesperson in a report by Reuters:

‘Our goal is to work with government, regulators and innovative companies to develop the crypto and blockchain ecosystem in Thailand.’

In all regulatory frameworks, the existence of a corporate body that can be licensed by authorities and the appointment of an individual as a ‘responsible person’ are each mandatory requirements. Therefore, it is likely that most of Binance’s platforms will be operated with a local partner to conform to these requirements. 

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