Representatives for Gulf Energy declined to comment when contacted by Fortune. “We confirm that the platform has initially launched as an invitation-only exchange,” a spokesperson for Binance said in a statement to Fortune. “Our plan is to eventually open the exchange to the general public.”Binance’s decision to launch an exchange in Thailand comes amid ongoing regulatory scrutiny of the world’s largest crypto exchange and Zhao—especially in the U.S.
In March, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued both Zhao and Binance, which has a U.S.-based subsidiary, for allegedly conspiring to give American users access to its more profitable international exchange, which is supposedly off-limits in the States. In June, the SEC followed up with an even more damning lawsuit, alleging in 13 charges that Binance and Zhao “engaged in an extensive web of deception” to evade U.S. securities law. And rumors of an ongoing Justice Department investigation into Zhao and his crypto exchange have swirled for months.
Other countries, including France, have since followed the U.S.’s lead, conducting their own into the crypto giant. But Binance hasn’t slowed down. In April, the firm said it was expanding its in Argentina. Most recently, the exchange’s Japanese subsidiary 13 more tokens, and Zhao has a new Binance-branded crypto wallet.
Update, Nov. 16, 2023: Added in comment from Binance.
Update, Nov. 17, 2023: Added in decline to comment from Gulf Energy