Thailand’s Gulf Energy Announces Subsidiary for Overseas Crypto Exposure

Updated by Andrew Rossow
In Brief
  • Thailand's Gulf Energy is looking to invest in overseas digital businesses with a fully-owned subsidiary.
  • Recent documents filed with the Stock Exchange reveal the parent company will hold the entire equity stake with $100,000 in registered capital.
  • Previously, Gulf Energy and Binance had announced a strategic partnership for a crypto exchange license.
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Thailand’s Gulf Energy Development Public Company Ltd. dives deeper into crypto investment with its newest subsidiary.

A recent filing of documents with the Stock Exchange of Thailand revealed that the electric power generation company would be creating a designated subsidiary, Gulf International Investment Limited, to invest in overseas digital businesses.

In the March 25 letter, the energy company says that the parent company will hold the entire equity stake with $100,000 in registered capital to operate and invest in digital infrastructure, digital assets, blockchain technology, businesses, and other related services, which would include investment in funds that invest in the aforementioned assets and businesses, in foreign countries.

Gulf Energy’s partnership with Binance

Earlier this year, Binance had confirmed that it would also be setting up a crypto exchange with the Gulf Energy.

A report by Reuters suggests that both companies are able to secure a joint venture (JV) deal sometime in Q2 2022.

“Once we conclude talks with Binance on business model and shareholder agreements, a JV will be formed, which will apply for the license with regulators,” said Gulf’s Chief Financial Officer Yupapin Wangviwat. The company is also expected to obtain a crypto trading license later this year.

While Thailand is a crucial crypto market, the regulators have grown increasingly cautious of the risks associated with the sector. Earlier this week, Thailand issued new rules that banned the use of digital assets as a medium of payment, beginning in April of this year. This move corresponds with the country’s desire to restrict the role of its commercial banks in the crypto sector to protect them from potential risks.

Binance’s face-off with Thai regulators

Both Gulf Energy and Binanace are anticipating more guidelines surrounding the prospective trading license come June.

Last year, Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission had filed a criminal complaint against Binance for illegally operating a digital asset business without a license. Local sources had informed the media that perhaps Binance’s presence in Thailand may not be big enough to obtain the licensing, as compared to its US-based operations.

With its strategic partnership with Gulf Energy, there’s an argument to be made that Binance will be large enough to qualify for the trading license, making its presence known throughout Thailand – similar to what the global exchanged accomplished in Malaysia with MX Global. Indeed, as Gulf Energy is one of Thailand’s most significant electric power producers, this partnership has the ability to decide Binance’s future in the country.

Thai Central Bank’s guidelines

On Friday, Bank of Thailand, Thailand’s central bank also shared that it will soon provide clearer guidelines around digital risk management to maintain the stability of its financial system.

Bank of Thailand said it would also incorporate comments and recommendations by stakeholders to improve the policy directions. After which, the central bank is expected to publish directional papers that will cover “the engagement of banking groups in digital business, the payment system, managing transition towards greater environmental sustainability, and virtual bank licensing framework.”

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