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Gulf Energy pursues joint venture with Binance, invests in BNB

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

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

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

In a separate filing Monday, Gulf Energy announced it was pursuing a “joint venture” with Binance to operate a cryptocurrency exchange in Thailand. Once the joint venture is formed, the newly formed company will apply for digital asset licenses from the relevant authorities. Gulf Energy’s filing also revealed investments in Binance Coin (BNB), the native crypto asset of the Binance ecosystem.

The collaboration between Gulf Energy and Binance has been ongoing for several months as the cryptocurrency exchange attempted to restart 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 has also been subject to regulatory scrutiny from several other jurisdictions, including Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Cayman Islands, and the Canadian province of Ontario.

Related: Thailand’s SEC bans crypto payments and requires exchanges to disclose system failures

While Thailand’s crypto industry is nascent, it is beginning to crystallize as lawmakers seek to bring more regulatory clarity to the asset class. Recently, the Treasury of Thailand scrapped a proposed 15% tax on crypto capital gains due to regulatory backlash.