Visa recently decided to create a new project called the B2B Connect program, supporting cross-border payments. Since Thailand’s fourth-largest bank, Kasikornbank, caught wind of the concept, they decided to join the blockchain technology endeavor. So far, no other bank in the country is using this technology, giving Kasikornbank a chance to be an innovator and a pioneer for the country.
Based on a report from The Nation, this decision creates a big opportunity for the banking industry to get involved with blockchain technology as well. Visa’s Thailand manager, Suripong Tantiyanon, also expressed how he feels about this effort. He believes that the Visa B2B efforts will support ongoing developments in “security, governance, and distributed ledger technology.” The project was actually started last year, where they were first joined by the U.S. Commerce Bank, South Korea’s Shinhan Bank, the Union Bank of Philippines, and the United Overseas Bank in Singapore.
Senior Vice President of Kasikornbank, Siriporn Wongtriphop, holds similar optimism. He believes that the bank’s decision to get involve will move them towards being “the leader in the industry,” based on the newfound security and transparency. Right now, they are responsible for $96 billion in assets, based on demographic information provided in March 2018.
This is not the first time that the bank has been a part of a blockchain platform pilot for cross-border payments. In 2016, they partnered with a Chinese fintech firm called International Business Settlement, allowing them to work on the payments between the two countries.
At the time, Chairman Banthoon Lamsam of Kasikornbank said,
“IBS has the technology and network to facilitate international settlements that is not based just on the U.S. dollar, at a time when the yuan’s international presence is increasing.”
The Bank of Thailand only recently began allowing local banks to start setting up framework for cryptocurrencies in the region last month. Presently, regulations allow Thai banks to issue tokens, provide brokerage services, run crypto businesses, and invest in cryptocurrency. Perhaps, with the use of the B2B Connect program, their cross-border payment industry will thrive as well.