Thailand’s Oldest Bank Acquires Majority Stake in Local Crypto Exchange

Siam Commercial Bank Pcl, the oldest bank in Thailand, is getting deeper into the crypto space by acquiring a 51% stake in the local cryptocurrency exchange Bitkub for 17.85 billion baht, more than $537 million.

The deal is expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year and is pending regulatory approval.

Through this acquisition, the Siam Commercial Bank will gain “new growth value in the long term amid a new financial world,” said chief executive Arthid Nanthawithaya in a statement.

SCBX is the country’s fourth-largest lender by assets and plans to restructure and grow its new business. A couple of months back in September, the bank announced the establishment of SCBX as a parent company and a venture capital fund of size up to $800 million.

At the time, the banking giant also said it aims to have 200 million customers by 2025 in the region and reach a market capitalization of 1 trillion baht (nearly $30 billion).

“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,” said Bitkub founder and CEO, Jirayut Srupsrisopa.

In August, the country's fifth-largest lender, Bank of Ayudhya Pcl (BAY), also participated in the $41 million investment round in crypto exchange Zipmex. Earlier this year, another bank Kasikornbank Pcl rolled out a service for digital token offerings.

“If we don’t stay close, technology will be further away from the bank,” said Sam Tansakul, managing director of Krungsri Finnovate, the venture arm of BAY at the time.

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