Global cryptocurrency exchange Binance has officially opened its doors to the general public in Thailand, posing a potential threat to the local crypto exchange landscape, which Bitkub has long dominated.
Binance TH, as the new platform is called, announced the expansion on January 16th, revealing that it has introduced a dedicated order book for Thai baht trading pairs and seamless integration with domestic banking systems for currency deposits and withdrawals.
Binance ambitious long-term plans
While the initial offering from Binance TH focuses solely on spot trading, the exchange has expressed its ambitious long-term vision. A Binance spokesperson stated that the company is actively collaborating with regulators to obtain approvals for additional services in the future.
This move follows Binance’s approval from the local Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) two months ago, allowing the exchange to commence operations on an invitation-only basis, with a full public launch planned for 2024.
Binance first revealed its plans to establish a cryptocurrency exchange in Thailand in May 2023. Subsequently, it obtained a digital asset exchange and brokerage operator license from Thailand’s Ministry of Finance in the same month.
Gulf Binance, a joint venture between Binance Capital Management, a subsidiary of Binance, and Gulf Innova, a subsidiary of Thai energy giant Gulf Energy, operates the exchange.
Binance’s entry into the Thai market confronts Bitkub, the dominant player with around 77% of the market share, according to HashKey. Bitkub boasts a daily trading volume of approximately $30 million, with the Thai baht and Tether pair being the most traded on the platform.
Other exchanges present in Thailand include Upbit, which launched locally in 2021, as well as Bitazza and Zipmex. However, regulatory pressure led to suspending trading on Zipmex in November.
Working with Thai regulators
Gulf Binance CEO Nirun Fuwattananukul highlighted the close collaboration with Thai regulators over the past year, emphasizing the significant effort invested in detailed planning. Binance CEO Richard Teng expressed the company’s commitment to becoming a part of the community that advances Thailand’s digital economy, facilitating growth and creating new opportunities.
It’s important to note that Binance TH is not accessible to foreigners residing in Thailand, as it requires users to possess a Thai National Digital ID for Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures. Despite this restriction, crypto trading remains popular in Thailand, although digital assets have ceased being used for payments since March 2022.
In September 2023, the Thai government introduced plans to tax overseas income from stock and crypto traders, a regulation set to take effect in January 2024. This development could potentially impact the cryptocurrency trading landscape in the country.
On January 15th, Binance released its themes for 2024 report, outlining key growth areas within the cryptocurrency industry. These include narratives about the Bitcoin ecosystem, ownership economy applications, artificial intelligence, real-world assets, on-chain liquidity, and institutional adoption.