Binance Thailand’s public launch to compete with incumbent Bitkub

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Global cryptocurrency exchange Binance has opened to the general public in Thailand, potentially shaking up a local crypto exchange market dominated by Bangkok-based incumbent Bitkub.

In a Jan. 16 statement, Binance TH said the exchange will now be open to “all eligible users” and has implemented a dedicated order book designed for Thai baht trading pairs. Users can also deposit and withdraw local currency “through intuitive integration with domestic banking systems,” it said.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, a Binance spokesperson noted there would be no additional services beyond spot trading at the moment, but it has “ambitious long-term plans for Binance TH and we are working closely with the regulators to obtain approvals for other services.”

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It comes two months after Binance received approval from the local Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to commence operations, initially launching on an “invitation only” basis “with plans to open to the general public in 2024.”

Binance first announced plans for a Thai crypto exchange in May 2023 and received a digital asset exchange and brokerage operator license from Thailand’s Ministry of Finance in the same month.

The exchange is being operated by Gulf Binance, which is a joint venture between Binance Capital Management, a subsidiary of Binance, and Gulf Innova, a subsidiary of Thai energy giant Gulf Energy.

However, Binance is entering a market dominated by one major player, the Bangkok-based Bitkub, which commands around 77% of the market share, according to HashKey. Bitkub has a daily volume of about $30 million, with the Thai baht and Tether (USDT) pair the most traded on the platform.

Other exchanges with a Thai presence include Upbit — which launched locally in 2021 — along with Bitazza and Zipmex. However, Zipmex suspended trading in November following regulatory pressure.

“Over the past year, we have been working closely with Thai regulators, putting substantial effort into detailed planning,” said Gulf Binance CEO Nirun Fuwattananukul.

Binance CEO Richard Teng added that it’s aiming to be “part of the community that digitizes Thailand’s economy, facilitating growth and fostering new opportunities.”

There is a caveat, however: Binance TH is not available to foreigners residing in the Kingdom as it requires a Thai National Digital ID to complete Know Your Customer procedures. 

Related: Thailand to start taxing overseas income next year, including from crypto

Crypto trading remains popular in Thailand; however, using digital assets for payments in March 2022.

In September 2023, the newly appointed government announced plans to tax overseas income from stock and crypto traders starting in January 2024.

On Jan. 15, Binance released its themes for 2024 report highlighting narratives related to the Bitcoin ecosystem, ownership economy applications, artificial intelligence, real-world assets, on-chain liquidity and institutional adoption as key growth areas.

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