Gulf Energy pursues joint venture with Binance, invests in BNB

The Bangkok-based holding company has identified digital infrastructure and “digital-asset related initiatives” as priority areas.

Thailand-based Gulf Energy has made strategic investments in cryptocurrency exchange Binance US and signaled its pursuit of a joint venture with the global Binance exchange as part of a targeted effort to gain exposure to the digital asset market. 

Gulf Energy disclosed in a regulatory filing on April 18 that it invested in “Series Seed Preferred Stock issued by BAM Trading Services Inc.,” which is the operator of Binance US. The investment in Binance US gives Gulf Energy exposure to “one of the fastest user scale-up exchanges in the world” well ahead of the exchange’s planned initial public offering, the company said.

Changpeng Zhao, who runs Binance’s global cryptocurrency exchange, confirmed in July 2021 that Binance US was exploring pathways for a public offering.

In a separate filing on Monday, Gulf Energy disclosed that it is pursuing a “joint venture” with Binance to operate a cryptocurrency exchange in Thailand. Once the joint venture is established, the newly formed entity will apply for digital asset licenses with the appropriate authorities. Gulf Energy’s filing also disclosed investments in Binance Coin (BNB), which is the native crypto asset of the Binance ecosystem.

The collaboration between Gulf Energy and Binance has been in the making for several months now as the cryptocurrency exchange sought to re-establish operations in the Southeast Asian country. In July 2021, Thailand’s securities regulator accused Binance of operating a digital asset business illegally in the country. Binance was the subject of regulatory scrutiny from several other jurisdictions as well, including Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Cayman Islands and the Canadian province of Ontario.

Related: Thailand SEC bans crypto payments, seeks disclosure of system failure from exchanges

While nascent, Thailand’s crypto industry is beginning to crystalize as lawmakers seek to provide more regulatory clarity on the asset class. Recently, the Thai Revenue Department scrapped a planned 15% tax on crypto capital gains amid regulatory backlash.

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