Thailand’s oldest bank, Siam Commercial Bank Plc (SCB), announced on Tuesday, November 2, that it acquired a majority stake (51%) in local cryptocurrency exchange Bitkub for a deal worth 17.85 billion baht ($536.7 million).
Arthid Nanthawithaya, the CEO of Siam Commercial Bank, talked about the development and said that the bank bought the local digital asset exchange Bitkub due to the fact that businesses in the digital asset space have witnessed significant growth over the previous two years and the sector holds massive potential value in the long-term.
With the purchase, Siam bank signalled that it aims to strengthen and grow the digital asset ecosystem in Thailand.
Mr. Nanthawithaya mentioned that the acquisition will “help the SCBX Group create new growth value in the long term amid a new financial world.”
Meanwhile, Jirayut Srupsrisopa, founder and CEO of Bitkub, talked about the acquisition and stated: “We needed to elevate Bitkub to the global level, so we turned to a strong partner like SCB to help us achieve our target faster and more sustainably.”
Srupsrisopa further added that Bitkub crypto exchange has reached the point where it has become an important structure in Thailand’s future economy. “Bitkub is no longer just a startup. It is becoming necessary infrastructure for the financial industry 3.0 in Thailand,” he said.
Siam Commercial bank’s SCB stated that it expects to complete the entire acquisition by the second quarter of 2022.
Bitkub – one of the largest digital asset exchanges in Thailand – stated that the acquisition deal is subject to approval from the country’s Central Bank and the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
SCBX, the country’s fourth-largest bank by assets in Thailand, completed the acquisition when it planned to restructure and grow its new business and financial technologies.
Other banks and firms in Thailand also have made similar moves into the digital asset space.
In August, Bank of Ayudhya Plc – a major bank in Thailand, led an investment funding drive into local cryptocurrency exchange Zipmex.
On August 31, Thai digital asset exchange Zipmex raised $41 million from the country’s fifth-largest lender, Bank of Ayudhya PCL as well as other media firms, including Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s venture capital firm, B Capital Group as an investor.
In March, KASIKORNBANK (KBank) launched Kubit, a subsidiary or unit, to provide a variety of digital token offerings in the Thai public market.
Other companies, such as the Brooker Group Plc financial consultancy firm, have made crypto assets such as Bitcoin as part of their investment strategy.
Thai Crypto Trading
As of September 2021, Bitkub is the leading cryptocurrency exchange in Thailand, around 72% of local users who trade crypto assets use the digital platform. Bitkub has become extremely popular due to the firm’s aggressive marketing campaigns as well as its inclusive platform designed for non-tech users.
Early this year, Bitkub, the most heavily trafficked cryptocurrency exchange in Thailand, announced plans to stop accepting new customers to address issues recently identified by market regulators.
In April, the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission ordered Bitkub to stop accepting new clients until it enhanced its technical infrastructures to cope with high levels of customer demand.
The suspension covered all onboarding stages, including clients’ registration, pending applications, and identity verifications processes.
The regulator also issued improvement orders for the exchange after users were blocked from trading during January’s significant spikes of crypto prices.
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