Thailand's Bank of Ayudhya (BAY) — in which Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) holds a 76.9% stake — participated in the latest funding round for the Asia-Pacific-focused crypto exchange Zipmex.
The $41 million raise, which saw the participation of two publicly traded Thai media firms and overseas venture capital (VC) funds — in addition to BAY — accounts for the lion’s share of Zipmex’s total $52 million in funds raised to date.
BAY’s corporate venture capital arm, Krungsri Finnovate, invests in startups across various fintech areas, including blockchain, lending, e-commerce and cross-border remittance. Commenting on the news of the Zipmex raise, its managing director stressed to Reuters that “if we don’t stay close, technology will be further away from the bank” on Tuesday.
For the exchange, the plan is to use the fresh funding to double its current user base to hit 1 million over the next six months. Zipmex, the only digital assets platform currently licensed in Thailand, operates under regulatory supervision in Indonesia and Australia, and has a notified regulatory exemption in Singapore. It is reportedly in the process of applying for a Major Payment Institution license with Singapore’s de facto central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which would enable it to provide digital payment token services in the city-state, among other offerings.
At present, the Singapore-headquartered exchange conducts roughly half its business in Thailand, a fifth in Indonesia and the rest in Singapore and Australia, according to CEO Marcus Lim.
The exchange also has its sights on expanding its technology and compliance teams to roll out new digital assets products in lending, payments and securities. It currently offers exchange users two earnings accounts, one flexible and one fixed-term, and supports crypto spending through a partnership with Visa, with plans for its own crypto card launch later this year.
In Thailand, Zipmex also recently partnered with the largest operator of movie theaters in the country, Major Cineplex Group, and digital payment startup RapidZ to allow some moviegoers to buy tickets with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC).