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Despite crypto winter, Thai energy billionaire turns to crypto to boost his income

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Despite crypto winter, Thai energy billionaire turns to crypto to boost his income
  • Sarath Ratanavadi says crypto platforms are essential for growth.
  • Ratanavadi adds that his company plans to build more power generation equipment using renewable energy.

The crypto industry has come under intense scrutiny over the past few months. The increased surveillance could explain why the number of active crypto trading accounts in Thailand has decreased. Recent Bloomberg data showed that there were only 260,000 active trading accounts in Thailand as of July 2022.

This is a significant drop, given that the number was 692,000 in January 2022. This drop reflects the general slowdown in the crypto market, with BTC trading down 69% from its all-time high in November 2021, according to data from Coingecko. Yet, these events and statistics have not deterred Sarath Ratanavadi from stepping up her efforts regarding plans to use crypto to boost her energy business.

Ratanavadi, Thailand’s second richest man and CEO of Gulf Energy Development, derived most of his wealth from the energy industry, particularly power generation. The CEO of Gulf Energy added that his company would increase its investments in blockchain technology to expand its revenue options. The move comes as a surprise to many, given that Thai regulators are stepping up their oversight duties over crypto-related businesses as the value of crypto tokens declines.

According to Ratanavadi, the Bangkok-based company has applied for an operating license to operate a crypto exchange and brokerage platform under Binance holdings ltd, the parent company of Binance Exchange. The Binance exchange is the world’s largest crypto exchange based on trading volume. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index shows that Ratanavadi is worth $11.9 billion and his wealth is equal to that of Jerry Jones, a famous oil tycoon and owner of the Dallas Cowboys.

During an interview broadcast on August 24, 2022, Ratanavadi said that blockchain technology, including cryptocurrencies, will be a crucial factor in his company’s profits. He added that Gulf Energy wants to be the market leader in Thailand. Asked about the recent issues plaguing the crypto market, he explained that the issues are individual cases and the broader crypto market is still strong and has huge potential.

Read more: Thailand Bans Crypto Payments

According to Bloomberg, Ratanavadi’s interview was conducted before Thai lending firm SCBX announced it had dropped plans to acquire Bitkub, a local crypto exchange.

Other companies are exploring crypto to diversify their revenue

Ratanavadi’s Gulf Energy won’t be the first company to turn to crypto to boost revenue. Over the past two years, other companies have followed suit. MicroStrategy (an enterprise software maker) owns billions of dollars worth of Bitcoin (BTC). Tesla (a famous electric car maker), Block (a technology group) and Meitu (a popular photo app in China) have also invested in crypto to diversify their revenue streams.

However, it should be noted that the value of the cryptocurrency holdings of these companies has declined significantly in the face of the current crypto downturn. MicroStrategy and Meitu reported around $1 billion and $52 million in unrealized losses on their crypto holdings. Earlier this year, Tesla sold over $930 million worth of BTC, citing doubts about COVID lockdowns in China.

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